In a recent interview with Economic Times, Masakazu Yoshimura, the newly appointed Managing Director of Toyota Kirloskar Motor, revealed that the Etios sedan and Liva hatchback will be updated for India. While he stopped short of furnishing further information, his statement does imply that next-gen versions of the trustworthy India-spec models are currently in the works.
Mr. Yoshimura also stated that 70% of the quantum of business in the Indian passenger car market lies below the INR 10 lakh mark and hence, the company is working on driving down the cost of its small cars. However, he likened the cost cutting exercise as squeezing an already very dry towel.
Toyota’s recent partnership with Suzuki will not only bear fruits in India but will have benefits on the global scale. Adopting Suzuki’s excellent low cost structure for small cars would be of great help for Toyota in India.
When asked about the possibility of hybrid solution to its small cars in India, Mr. Yoshimura pointed out that the Toyota hybrid solutions for B-segment will see fruition soon through partner Suzuki. Though Toyota is working on a smaller EV with Suzuki, the new MD feels that hybrid (or self charging) vehicles are better suited to battle pollution in India since they don’t need large scale support infrastructure.
The current Toyota Etios and Liva were developed after an exhaustive customer survey in India. The twins are known for their reliability, space, and efficiency. Despite their strengths, they failed to set the sales chart on fire and we would blame the unambitious styling for it. Hopefully, the updated versions will have fresher and youthful appeal inside out. Toyota has also revealed that they are planning to bring the average price of their line-up in India lower. This could mean that the next gen Etios and Liva could be priced lower than the current variants.
India is currently one of the top 10 markets in the world for Toyota, and with proper product strategy and cost optimization, Mr. Yoshimura feels that the Indian subsidiary could enter top 3 in the future. He also stated that, thanks to loyal customer base, the retention rate in India is highest among Toyota’s global subsidiaries.