Spain’s car industry, reeling under growing production and competitive woes, has denounced the possibility that the government will raise SUV-truck registration taxes by as much as 17%.

“It would be ridiculous” for a car-manufacturing country to pay more excise tax, Juan Antonio Fernandez de Sevilla, president of manufacturers’ federation Anfac said in a speech before Spain’s Congress. “Our taxes are already high enough,” he added.

Sevilla was responding to rumours that the government is considering raising SUV taxes by 12% to 17%. The law is also expected to apply to other passenger vehicles with engines bigger than 2,500cc.

The government reportedly wants the tax revenue for its soaring public healthcare system.

Sevilla’s comments followed an impassioned speech in which he requested government support to help shore up Spain’s “sickening” auto industry where production is seen falling 10% amid weak European car demand.

Sevilla reiterated that the sector’s workers will have to “work more and earn less” to fix the industry’s woes.

Ivan Castano