Global car giant Toyota Motor Corporation will consider launching more small cars and entering fast growing segments like compact SUVs in order to achieve market leadership in India.
The company,however,said in the absence of a clear cut Indian government policy relating the auto industry such as fuel policy and import tariff,it is adopting a wait and watch strategy before deciding on setting up of a new diesel engine plant in the country or launching more hybrid cars.
“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 said.
While he did not share details of the company’s future product launches,Ogiso said another prime focus of the company is the fast growing 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 said,without elaborating details.
Ogiso also said the company will try to bring more contemporary global products keeping in mind how the Indian customer 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 added.
Sharing the the company’s long term ambition in 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.
While he did not share a timeline for realising such ambition,O’Connor said Toyota is watching out for a clear cut government policy before it decides on key decision like investing on a diesel engine manufacturing 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 said.
Similarly,there is a need to understand how import tariffs are going to be like,if the India-EU FTA materialises as is being reported.
“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.
The Prius is the only hybrid model that was launched in India by Toyota.
The company has already announced that globally it would launch 18 hybrid vehicles by 2015,out of which five will be refreshes of existing models.
Ogiso said out of them only two are expected to be compact cars.
The company sold 1.2 million hybrid vehicles last year and its cumulative hybrid sales since it launched the Prius in 1997 has crossed five million units.