Toyota feels the need to launch Lexus in India
Toyota, which currently sells Etios, Etios Liva, Fortuner and Innova in India and recently launched the Etios Cross and Corolla Altis sedan are making plans on bringing in the luxury brand Lexus into the country. The Japanese manufacturer is keen to compete with its German counterparts on a common platform and hence believe the time is ripe for launch of the premium brand of Lexus vehicles.
Luxury car segment in India is growing by leaps and bounds. Presently, the German automakers such as Mercedes Benz, Audi and BMW have a strong hold over this segment but are soon to face competition in the form of the new Lexus brand making its way in.
However, prior to introduction of the Lexus brand, Toyota will have to contemplate local assembly to take advantage of 100% tax rebate. This would not only go a long way in making prices more competitive but will also ensure that the brand is positioned on a common platform with German models. All three German luxury car manufacturers, Audi, BMW and Mercedes Benz have local assembly units in India, thus making their products more affordable.
Introduction of the Lexus brand into India has been confirmed by Naomi Ishii, MD of Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM), the Indian subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corporation who took over as Managing Director earlier this year. In a recent interaction with Times of India, he revealed that they have been contemplating launch of Lexus into India and feels the time is now right for such a launch. Ishii was earlier Brand Manager of Lexus in Europe and was instrumental in launch of the Lexus brand there as well, with resounding success.
Toyota recently added the Etios Cross to its lineup. Priced at INR 5.76 lakhs the car is being offered in four variants and three engine options in the form of 1.2 liter petrol, 1.5 liter petrol and 1.4 liter diesel engines.