Toyota keen to launch luxury cars in India

Written by fe Bureau | Bangalore | Updated: Jun 11 2014, 20:25pm hrs
Toyota Kirloskar Motor is looking at tapping new segments in smaller cities to drive sales of the Etios entry-level sedan and Liva compact car while it is also studying the feasibility of launching luxury brand Lexus in the country, Naomi Ishii, the managing director, said on Monday.

The Japanese carmaker said it was breaking down the market into various segments and customer profiles for a more targeted approach to boost its entry-level cars. The Etios and Liva have bigger potential in non-mega cities, Ishii told reporters, adding these cars enjoy a high-marketshare in Karnataka. So there is a gap and we are working on this to acquire more customers, he said, addressing a media roundtable. Toyota on Monday also launched the latest generation of its premium sedan Corolla Altis.

Ishii said the company was keen on launching the luxury brand in the country, but it had to overcome some key challenges. The carmaker has been delaying the Lexus launch primarily because of the heavy import duty.

I think the premium market size is 30,000-40,000 units annually and all the three German friends, Mercedes, BMW and Audi, are doing very well. Looking at this, I feel that we need Lexus here. Besides the 100% import duty, the company also needs to build up operations for a line-up of models, he said, without specifying a timeframe.

We are studying how to tackle these challenges, he said. We have very strong interest to bring the brand in India but again I want to be a little bit different from the existing German three. To just follow the competitors' way is not the Toyota way.