Toyota preparing for the launch of new models in India

Friday 24 May 2013, 10:03 AM by

Toyota Motor Corporation, the well appreciated Japanese auto maker, is considering the launch of new models in the fastest developing segment of the Indian auto market. Introducing a new line-up of compact Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) is also on the cards of the auto maker, which will facilitate it to garner a strong position in the Indian auto space. As the company has admitted that in the absence of clear cut policy by Indian government for the auto industry, like fuel policy and import tariff, it is preferring to adopt wait and watch strategy before actually deciding to establish a new diesel engine unit in India.

The Managing Officer of Toyota Motor Corporation, Satoshi Ohiso was quoted as saying, “If you look at our portfolio in India, we have just one small car, Liva. We need more if we have to have big volumes in a fast growing market like India.” However, he did not disclosed the future product launches of the company for India, instead he said that another prime focus of the auto maker is tapping the potential of fast developing compact SUV segment. “Globally, the compact SUV segment is getting more popular and in India it is also the same. We will definitely have our presence there,” he added later.

The company official further said that the Japanese auto maker is mulling towards introducing more contemporary global models in the Indian auto market, considering the fact that how the buyers in India have evolved. “We launched the Etios which was developed keeping the Indian market in mind. Today, the Indian customer is more aware of the international trends, they are discerning and our endeavor will be to satisfy them,” he said.

Expressing Toyota's long term goal in India, the Executive Vice President of Toyota Motor Asia, Bernie O'Connor commented that the idea was to achieve the worldwide leadership position in India. He then added, “Globally we are leaders, if you look in other Asian countries like Indonesia, the Philippines as well, we are leaders. Definitely, we have an ambition to be the number one in India as well in the long term.”

However, it must be noted that he did not disclosed the timeline for executing such a ambitious plan in the Indian auto market. He said that the auto maker is waiting for crystal clear government policy before implementing its key plans in the country. The main objective of the auto maker as of now is establishing a diesel engine production plant. “In the long term, we need to have a diesel engine manufacturing plant in India but the lack of clear cut direction in auto fuel policy is something we need to watch out for. We need to see which way India is going,” he added later.

On the same lines, it is also important to understand that how will be the import tariffs if the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between India-EU materialises as it is being reported. It must be noted that the Prius happens to be the only hybrid model, which has been introduced by the Toyota Motor Corporation in the Indian auto market. “We would have to see how things are (import tariff) before we decide to launch more hybrid vehicles. At the moment it is a very costly proposition to sell our hybrids in India.”