The proposal of the Petroleum Ministry for levying an additional excise of Rs.1.70-2.55 lakh on diesel cars and SUVs (sports utility vehicles) has raised the hackles of the automobile industry, which is also supported by the Department of Heavy Industry.

Senior officials of General Motors, Audi India and Toyota-Kirloskar, on Thursday, joined the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) in strongly opposing the move of the Petroleum Ministry.

“Any step to increase tax should be done only after the approval of the nodal Ministry, which is the Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises in this case,” SIAM Senior Director Sugato Sen told PTI.

The Ministry of Heavy Industries, throwing its weight behind the car makers, will soon write to the Finance Ministry, rejecting the contentions of the Oil Ministry.

“It is a very regressive step. Industry continues to remain sluggish due to high interest rates, inflation and high fuel prices,” General Motors India Vice-President P. Balendran said.