Unabashed by the crisis that hit the company's US operations, Toyota Kirloskar Motors(TKM), the Japanese carmaker's Indian subsidiary, is bullish on doubling its sales in 2011 from an estimated 70,000 units this year on the back of its upcoming B segment car, the Etios. Etios will also be the first car that Toyota will export from its Indian operations.
The company had sold 55,497 units in the country in 2009 calendar year , which was mainly led by Innova sales. The popular sports utility vehicle(SUV) from the Toyota stable sold around 42,700 units as against 9100 units of the Corolla and 3150 units of the Fortuner. "We hope to sell around 70,000 units of the Etios only in 2011, taking our net sales to well above 1.4 lakh units", informed Koji Nagata, executive managing coordinator and director(marketing), TKM.
The company will start production of the Etios from December 2010, and while the exact time of the launch is yet to be decided, the car is expected to hit Indian roads in the first quarter of 2011.
Toyota has developed a sedan and a hatchback variant on the Etios platform and has also set up a separate plant for its India small car project at its Bidadi premises near Bangalore with an investment of Rs 3200 crore that will have a manufacturing capacity of 70,000 units in the first phase expandable up to one lakh units per annum. Toyota's Bidadi plant is spread over 425 acres and already had an 80,000 units per annum manufacturing facility for the Innova, Corolla and the Fortuner that used up only around a quarter of the available space.
"We plan to export the Etios from India too, but after consolidating our sales here.This is a car developed specifically for the Indian market.", said Hiroshi Nakagawa, managing director of TKM. While exports can start by the end of 2011, volumes are yet to finalised. The company is also yet to arrive at a pricing for the Etios, but Nakagawa said that it could be priced in the range of the Maruti Suzuki Swift, its sedan variant Swift Dzire and Hyundai i20. Toyota was so far not present in the volume segment of the Indian market, which happens to be the small cars. The small car market in the country, roughly around two million units now, is likely to touch four million by 2015.
The company is now taking the Etios concept car to major Indian cities through an auto show, Toyota Q World,that also showcases the entire portfolio of Toyota cars along with the future line up of Toyota products like the LC 200 and the Toyota Prius. The ten cities to host the event are Chandigarh, Lucknow, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Pune, Cochin, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata.