Toyota betting on safe future in India

Bangalore, Nov 19 : Toyota Motor Corp is betting its future in India on premium cars for the country’s affluent urbanites, scrapping failed efforts to battle dominant rivals with small, cheap models in Asia’s sixth-largest auto market.

Naomi Ishii, Managing Director, Toyota India, said the premium cars that the company aims to launch will boost profitable five percent share in the market. Ishii added that more than the number of cars driven on roads, it is important to ensure the quality and safety of the drivers.

“What we don’t want to compromise is that I just don’t want to introduce the price competitive cars. In case we introduce the smaller cars, that smaller car should have very advanced feature in safety, fuel efficiency, exhaust emission and infotainment advanced technology,” Naomi added.

“In my opinion, of course in order to survive, to do the business in a profitable manner, we need a number, we need some number. But at the same time, how to transform the quality of the car society is more important than number,” he said.

Toyota’s two new launches in the next three years will aim at higher end population, who focus on safety and quality.

Sources revealed that Toyota will launch a compact utility vehicle and a sedan most likely the Vios to compete with Honda Motor’s popular City.

Commenting on the same, Ishii said, “The strategy is not without risk in a country where low vehicle ownership ratios and low wages mean cheap cars still make up some 70 percent of sales. The affordable segment is dominated by local and global rivals like Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai.”

“We want Toyota to double its Indian customer base by 2020, suggesting it will need to sell 1 million cars over the next five years. By then, India is expected to be the world’s third-largest market with annual sales of 5 million cars.”

Toyota sold 141,347 vehicles in the year ending March. Last fiscal year, Toyota marked turn around profit in India, ending three straight years of losses. (ANI)