Toyota Motor Corporation is considering the launch of a hybrid version of its Etios sedan in India. As a hybrid vehicle, it would have two sources of power, namely a petrol or diesel engine and an electric battery. At present, the company already offers the more expensive Prius as a hybrid in the country.
The Etios hybrid will be targeted towards a new generation of upwardly mobile, educated and successful middle-class buyers who are also concerned about the environment they live in. Industry experts believe that the modified Etios model has the potential to become a segment leader, as the demand for such vehicles looks promising. However, no official information is available either on the time of launch or the pricing of this hybrid vehicle.
About the future of the Etios hybrid in India, Kouji Toyoshima, Chief Engineer at Toyota Motor Corporation said, “If it happens, it could be a smart solution for Indians, who are smart.” In the country, the Japanese auto maker is encouraged by the National Electric Mobility Master Plan 2020, which promises a range of incentives in order to sell 1.7 million units (19 per cent of total output) of hybrid cars and electric four-wheelers by the year 2020. People who are acutely conscious of the environment may prefer to purchase electric cars. However, there are some advantages of these hybrid vehicles, such as not requiring specific charging outlets or a long charging time, no set range limitations and an internal combustion engine to run simultaneously as a back-up.
During the year 2008, Honda tried to launch the Honda Civic hybrid. Though the initial response to this vehicle was decent, it dropped substantially later, which forced the company to remove this model. It is possible that the year 2008 may have been a bit too early to bring in the hybrid. As there were no tax incentives and an overall lack of awareness prevailed, just 300 units of the Civic hybrid were imported.
But with Japanese car maker Toyota, it appears that the timing is more apt now, at least in Japan. Buyers are increasingly becoming conscious about the usage of more green fuel and obtaining high fuel efficiency. This, in turn, is being accelerated by generous tax incentives provided by the Japanese government. Over one million hybrids were sold by Toyota in Japan during 2012 alone, compared to 1.5 million units sold between the years 1997 and 2008.