Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) is all set to begin bookings for its new sedan Yaris from Wednesday, in a move that the Japanese carmaker hopes will lift its fortunes in the country. According to dealers in Mumbai, the bookings will be on a down payment of Rs 1 lakh and the car will be available for test drives in a day or two. The official launch, according to dealers, is expected in May. This could not be confirmed with the company. An email sent to them went unanswered.
The 1,496 cc Yaris is expected to be priced at over Rs 10 lakh and will be available only in petrol variants (manual and automatic), said dealers. It will be positioned between Toyota Etios and Toyota Corolla Altis. The company’s decision to launch only a petrol variant is seen as a calculated step, considering the new emission norms in 2020 will make diesel-run cars expensive.
The Yaris will compete against the Honda City, Maruti Suzuki Ciaz, Hyundai Verna and Volkswagen Vento in the mid-sized sedan segment in the Indian market. Currently, Toyota does not sell any product in this segment. Yaris’ competition sells at a price bracket of Rs 9-16 lakh in Mumbai. As per SIAM, the mid-sized sedan segment saw a growth of 7% in FY18 over last year to 1,72,535 units.
“This is a brand new product after a while from Toyota. If they get the pricing right, it can fetch them reasonable volumes,” said VG Ramakrishnan, founder partner and managing director, Avanteum Advisors, an advisory and consulting firm focused on key sectors including automobiles. He added that if Toyota is able to sell 30,000-40,000 units of Yaris in the first year of launch, it will be a good start for the Japanese maker.
Toyota sold 41,990 units in India in FY18 in the passenger vehicle (PV) segment, a de-growth of 17%. It sells Corolla Altis, Etios, Etios Liva, Etios Cross, Camry and Camry Hybrid and Prius in the PV segment. In the utility vehicle (UV) segment, Toyota sold 98,655 units, a growth of 7%, which includes its Innova, Fortuner, Prado and Land Cruiser.
“The mid-size segment has been growing at a reasonable pace. Though, UV has been the show stopper for the industry. We believe it will continue to grow at a modest rate,” said the industry expert.
By Shweta Bhanot Mehrotra