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Automobiles

Maruti Suzuki trims car prices in hopes of Indian turnaround

$70 discount on 10 models follows corporate tax cut

A Maruti Suzuki showroom in New Delhi: India's biggest automaker has cut prices of some models by up to 2%.   © Reuters

MUMBAI -- India's biggest carmaker, Maruti Suzuki, cut prices on some models ahead of the peak festive season here in hopes of reversing the deep slump in the country's auto industry.

The company said Wednesday that it was sharing the benefits of a recently enacted corporate tax reduction by offering car buyers a 5,000 rupee ($70) discount, which totals up to 2% off the sticker price. Maruti Suzuki described it as the first price reduction in at least five years.

The 10 discounted models include the Alto 800 compact car, which has a sticker price starting at 289,000 rupees, as well as the diesel-powered Swift and the Vitara Brezza sport utility vehicle.

Maruti Suzuki has taken the lead among automakers in cutting prices since the tax reduction, and others may follow suit as the industry struggles with anemic demand.

Indian new-vehicle sales have missed year-earlier levels every month since November 2018. The slump has prompted showroom closures and job cuts.

Maruti Suzuki, which holds a roughly 50% market share in passenger cars, said the price cut "will help boost customer sentiment and revive the market to create demand."

It remains unclear how much of a lift the smallish discount will give to sales.

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