Toyota lines up fresh car launches after 2-year gap – Times of India

NEW DELHI: Nearly two years after suspending car launch plans in India over what it called “prohibitive” taxes, the world’s biggest carmaker Toyota has revived its India growth strategy. It has decided to drive in fresh models – including electrics and hybrids – to gain a bigger share of the market, Vikram Kirloskar, vice-chairman of the company’s India joint venture, has said.
The company will be exporting electric drivetrains made at its Karnataka facility to home market Japan and other developed regions, Kirloskar – who holds a minority stake in the Toyota Kirloskar JV – told TOI here.
Kirloskar said Toyota “believes in the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, especially the targets around climate change” that the country has committed to. This, and the underlying growth potential of the automotive industry, has prompted the company to work towards growing business, through independent operations and in partnership with Suzuki’s Indian subsidiary, Maruti. “I assure you that we will have our own vehicles in India, besides launching cars with our partner (Maruti),” Kirloskar said.
The last solo launch by the company was the Yaris sedan, which hit the market in April 2018 but had to be discontinued soon due to poor response. The move is in contrast to the statement that the company had given in September 2020. Asked whether the company will launch cars under its own brand, Shekar Viswanathan, the then vice-chairman of Toyota Kirloskar (now retired), had said that high tax rates make doing business in India unviable. “The launch of a car is prohibitively costly – to develop a new platform, launch it, and then get volumes to defray costs, including for technology development. It’s a huge risk… the message we are getting, after we have come here and invested money, is that we don’t want you.”
Kirloskar, however, said that things are different now. The company recently announced plans to invest Rs 4,800 crore in Karnataka to locally produce powertrain parts and components for electric vehicles, and work around green technologies. “The e-drive or the transmission that we are making in India will be exported to Japan, and to other Toyota factories.”
Asked about the company’s plans to launch electrics (apart from the hybrids), Kirloskar refused to confirm whether the company’s EVs will come along with Maruti’s vehicles around 2024-25.

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