Toyota could launch a compact SUV and more small cars in India

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Toyota Motor Corporation, the world leader in auto sales, could be exploring the opportunities of launching more small cars and a compact SUV in the fast heating up Indian car market.

However, the manufacturer recently said that the absence of a well defined policy for the auto industry such as fuel policy and import tariff, has resulted into the manufacturer adopting a wait and watch strategy before going ahead with setting up new engine manufacturing plant in India. “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,” Toyota Motor Corporation Managing Officer Satoshi Ohiso told TOI.

While Ohiso didn’t talk in detail about the carmaker’s plans of launching a compact SUV, he did say that the manufacturer’s prime focus is on the fast developing compact SUV segment of India.

“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 said. He further added that Toyota Motor Corporation would try to bring more contemporary global products for fast evolving Indian customer.

“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 added.

Talking about the car maker’s long term strategy for India, Toyota Motor Asia Executive Vice President Bernie O’Connor said the idea was to replicate the global leadership position in the country. “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,” O’Connor said.

“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.

“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,” O’Connor said.


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