Toyota, the Japanese automaker, is poised to launch the Daihatsu brand in India. Owning a majority stake in the company, Toyota is aiming at the entry-level hatchback segment which is noted for its high demand in India.
Toyota has managed to see a huge success in the INR 15+ lakh segment with the new Innova Crysta MPV and the Camry hybrid, but the same is not true for their entry level cars – Etios and Etios Liva.
With Toyota now holding a controlling stake in Daihatsu, launching cars from Daihatsu in India will be easier than before (when Toyota was not holding a controlling stake).
Daihatsu currently sells 5 small cars which include Daihatsu Ayla, Daihatsu Bee, Daihatsu Copen, Daihatsu Cuore and Daihatsu Mira. Each of these are offered with engines rated from 550cc to 1.0 litre. It is yet to be ascertained which of these models will be launched in India, but all of them seem to be value for money propositions.
Speaking about launch timeline, unconfirmed reports state that Daihatsu cars could be on sale in India by 2019. Initially, Toyota will sell them under the Toyota brand and not under Daihatsu, because it will take time to promote a new brand in the market. It will not only be easier to sell cars under Toyota nameplate, but it will also save Toyota huge amounts in investing for setup of dealerships and service centers for Daihatsu.
Besides Daihatsu brand, Toyota is also set to launch the facelift model of Toyota Etios sedan and Toyota Etios Liva ahead of the festive season in the country. There are also plans to bring Lexus to India.