Japanese carmaker Toyota Motor Corporation won’t bring small cars to India anytime soon after Etios and Liva cars failed in the market.
“It is time to change our strategy …. The Etios was conceptualised in 2005, and hit the market in 2010. By then, customer preferences had changed,” said Akito Tachibana, managing director of Toyota Kirloskar Motor, the Japanese carmaker’s domestic subsidiary.
The models built to rival Maruti and Hyundai cars failed as Indians want more technologically advanced vehicles. Moreover, the company couldn’t launch refreshes regularly as the cars didn’t sell much.
“Constituting 45% of domestic sales, the A segment is a big market. But that’s not my priority,” said Tachibana. This means Toyota won’t cater to a large part of the market.
Toyota’s market share is under 5%, while its smaller Japanese rival Suzuki has cornered almost half of the Indian market through its subsidiary Maruti Suzuki.
“For Toyota, it is very difficult to develop India-specific vehicle,” Tachibana confessed, adding they would launch the Yaris, a subcompact car produced by Toyota since 1999. But it would be tweaked for Indian road conditions, he said.
However, the carmaker won’t launch many vehicles until the safety and emission regulations are simplified. Rather, it aims to introduce a slew of hybrid variants in its existing feet.
So, Tachibana said, there would be a hybrid Etios, Liva, Altis, Innova and Fortuner. Innova, Fortuner, and Altis will get the technology first, while Etios and Liva will get the hybrid variants last.