In a big relief to the slowdown-hit auto industry, Finance Minister P Chidambaram, through his interim budget speech, announced a major restructuring in the excise duty pertaining to the sector.

The biggest move so far is the reduction of excise duty — at least until June 30 — on sport utility vehicles (SUVs) to 24 per cent from the earlier 30 per cent.

The excise duty on bikes and two-wheelers was reduced to 8 per cent. Similarly, the excise duty on small cars was reduced from 12 per cent to 8 per cent.

On mid-segment cars, the excise duty was reduced to 20 per cent from 24 per cent.