Posted: October 23, 2010 in News & Updates
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K. Giriprakash
The Hindu Business Line (Web & Print Edition)

Nagoya (Japan,): Even as other global car makers are planning to launch several more small cars in India, Toyota Motor Corporation has completely ruled out any move to launch a smaller car other than the compact Etios in the Indian market.

“Toyota has no intention to go lower than Etios,” Toyota Executive Vice-President, Mr Yukitoshi Funo, told a group of visiting Indian journalists on Friday. Mr Funo said that Toyota was not in the small or compact car segment and Etios which has been made only for the Indian market and other emerging markets was the “smallest” it could go.

Etios will be launched on December 1 and will have the 1.2-lt hatchback as well as 1.5-lt sedan petrol versions. The sedan variant will be initially launched which will be followed with the launch of the hatchback three months later.

Mr Funo admitted that Toyota was not well prepared to launch a compact car earlier but with the economy booming in India, it was in fact the right time to launch a compact car for the mass market. He also acknowledged the strength of Suzuki Motors and Tata Motors who he said were “very very strong” in the Indian market. “Globally, we may be big but in India we have to gain the customers’ confidence step by step,” Mr Funo said.

He said even though Toyota has expanded heavily in the US and Europe, but the factors are not relevant in India as it has to build the brand brick by brick in the country.

Mr Funo who is also a member of the Board of Toyota Motor Corporation, said the next launch, which he confessed Toyota was yet to figure out in which segment it will be positioned, will take lesser lead time to introduce into the Indian market. “We have to be very successful with the Etios launch for us to consider launching other models,” he said.

Mr Funo said the company will consider Etios a success only when the local arm has a certain number of backorders even after the Indian manufacturing center has been expanded to full capacity. He expected sales from India to double to about 1.4 lakh units during the first 12 months of Etios launch.

The price of the hatchback version is expected to be between Rs 4 lakhand Rs 4.5 lakh while that of the sedan is expected to be slightlyover Rs 5 lakh.


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