Japanese carmaker Toyota is “unlikely” to launch any new models in India till 2020 when the new emission norms kick in and will mange with its existing portfolio till then in the country.
The company, which operates in India through a joint venture with Kirloskar group, plans to bring in hybrids and latest technology vehicles in the country as part of its long term strategy.
“We can’t bring in a technology whether petrol or diesel vehicles and then have Euro-IV suddenly kick in that they have promised by 2020. So right now up till 2020 atleast it seems very unlikely that we will bring in any of the gasoline and diesel models,” Toyota Kirloskar Motor Vice Chairman and Whole Time Director Shekar Viswanathan told PTI.
Once the government brings in new fuel pan-India then the company will be in a position to bring in new models, he added. “Till then we will mange with our existing portfolio”.
He, however, felt hopeful that with the lifting of the ban on 2000cc and above vehicles, the company is in a better position to talk to the parent firm.
“We are hopeful that with the ban removed we can talk to our principals and tell them this is now the available opportunity to bring in new models. That decision will however be of Toyota Motor Corporation,” Viswanathan said.
“What those newer models are going to be we don’t know. I can hazard a guess that those newer models are going to be in the direction of hybrid and later technology vehicles,” he said.
Elaborating on the investment freeze in the country, Viswanathan said: “There will no fresh investment in plant and machine, but there could be further investment in introducing models… that part will continue.”
When asked about the long-term plan, Viswanathan said Toyota globally has got a plan of introducing hybrid vehicles, hydrogen vehicles.
“But this doesn’t mean we will stop making diesel or petrol vehicles in the country. We will continue that also but that would fade away after a while and the emphasis will then become only towards hybrid, hydrogen and electric vehicles,” Viswanathan said.
When asked about India specific plan, he added: “In India in the next 10 years if the government puts emphasis on incentivising hybrid vehicle manufacturing, we will do it much faster.”
He added that its Camry Hybrid has been well received in the Indian market place.
“So are we going to bring in hybrid vehicles in the next one two months, the answer is no. But will we have one-year, two-year plan to bring hybrid vehicles, the answer is yes. So what those models would be, I am not in a position to tell right now,” Viswanathan said.
When asked about the Supreme Court levying 1 per cent cess on 2,000cc and above vehicles in Delhi-NCR, Viswanathan said: “We are not happy with this 1 per cent levy simply because we have not done any crime.”
The government had framed rules and the company was fully compliant with the emission norms and therefore there is no rationale in charging even this 1 per cent, he added.
“However, we are happy that the ban has been lifted and we are allowed to do business because many people have got back their livelihoods and there is a large segment of people who depend on these sales,” Viswanathan said.
On road ahead on the matter he said: “We will go back and say this not done because I can’t see any rationale why 2,000cc vehicles be targeted. If diesel is bad it has to be bad across. In that case you levy cess on diesel fuel itself.”
“Frankly, I don’t believe diesel is polluting, but I believe old engines are polluting and all these cars which are plying with Euro I Euro II engines, they must be first removed from the road,” he noted.
Toyota was among the worst hit by the Supreme Court ban in Delhi-NCR that lasted for eight months.