Toyota Kirloskar Motors, the JV between Toyota and India’s Kirloskar Group, has announced that it may consider launching its upcoming new car, Etios, in diesel variants. All in an effort to gain a better share in the great Indian hatchback segment.
“During the Delhi Auto Expo and at other events, we have received lot of customer queries regarding a diesel engine for the car. Considering the response, we are also looking at bringing out a diesel version of the Etios, but nothing has been finalised so far,” Toyota Kirsolkar Motor (TKM) Deputy Managing Director Sandeep Singh said.
He also said the company is looking at the Etios as its primary weapon to penetrate the Indian market. “The Indian small car market is a huge one where we had no presence so far. The launch of the Etios will mark our break into the strategic market,” Singh said.
Commercial production of the Toyota Etios would start at TKM’s second plant in Bangalore, from the beginning of December this year. The car is likely to be launched in the same month or, in worse case scenario, in during the first quarter of 2011.
Toyota will launch the Etios initially in petrol variants. While the hatchback Etios will feature a 1.2 litre engine, the sedan will have a .5 litre engine. The company is keeping mum on the pricing of the car. Sandeep Singh said: “The final price will be decided later. While the hatchback will compete with Maruti Suzuki’s Swift, Hyundai’s i20 petrol and Volkswagen’s Polo, the sedan version will be positioned along Maruti’s DZire and Tata’s Manza.”
The cars are priced between Rs 4 lakh and Rs 6.75 lakh. So Etios is likely to follow a similar line in its pricing policy. And a localisation rate of 70 per cent in the component parts is sure to bring down the cost.
The company’s second car plant in Bangalore, which swallowed an investment close to Rs 3000 crore, will be dedicated entirely for the production of Etios. . However, the engines will be imported from Japan
“The Bangalore facility will have an initial capacity of 70,000 units annually and we will roll-out the same number of Etios(es) during the first 12 months. While India will be the focus market, we will also look at exporting the car later,” Singh said.
Toyota Kirloskar Motor already has a plant in Bangalore, which has an annual production capacity of 75,000 units.
The company is also expanding its dealership network to cater to the demands that the launch of the new cars would create. “By the end of 2011, we will have a total of 150 dealerships across the country, up from 98 currently. The focus of the outlets would be to capitalise on the expected demand for Etios,” Singh said.
So much for beating the competitors in the Indian market. Do we see some of them having sleepless nights already!