Toyota to launch sedan from small car platform

toyota-iq-small-car-photo-black436Toyota Kirloskar Motors, the Indian subsidiary of the Japanese giant, Toyota Motor Corporation, will make multiple use of the new compact platform its parent company is developing for the launch of a small car in India later next year.

Since the company is developing a completely new platform from scratch, it will use it to build a sedan, in addition to other models, which perhaps could be compact cars.

Toyota is launching a compact car by the end of next year from its new production facility close to its existing plant in Bangalore, a senior company official said today on the sidelines of the launch of the new Land Cruiser, a luxury sports utility vehicle.

Sandeep Singh, deputy managing director (marketing), Toyota Kirloskar Motors, said” “We can make more than just the small car from that new platform. We will bring out a sedan based on that platform, apart from other options.”

Experts say the use of a common platform amongst cars brings down the cost of development of a new vehicle substantially. Toyota will be able to position the new sedan at an attractive price, lower than its current model, the Corolla Altis (priced at Rs 9.65 lakh, ex-showroom Mumbai, for base variant), experts said.

The company wants localisation content of at least 70 per cent for the small car, which will be ramped up later. It also said today that the decision of having an engine manufacturing plant in India is pending.

“Earlier there was a plan of sourcing the engines from outside India, but after putting up the second car plant with such a huge capacity, it does not make sense to not make the engines for the small car here. However, we are yet to take a final call on that,” added Singh.

The company has an installed capacity of about 100,000 units at the new plant, where Toyota has invested Rs 3,000 crore. However, the company recently informed that it has reduced its targeted capacity to 70,000 units, following the slump in the auto sector, without any reduction in capital expenditure.

Hiroshi Nakagawa, managing director of TKM, said: “All our global (new) projects were frozen due to the meltdown, except the Indian project. The Indian market is showing signs of recovery and we are expecting great potential from India.”

TKM was also forced to bring down its production levels by 20 per cent last year, to little more than 50,000 units from the 65,000 units at its current plant, to adjust to falling demand. The company sells four models in India – Innova, Corolla Altis, Camry and Prado.

However, with demand slightly better than in earlier months, Toyota is raising monthly production from about 4,000 to 5,500 units. It has set itself a target of selling at least 50,000 units this year. Last year, the company sold 51,800 units.

The Land Cruiser, launched today in two versions, is the most expensive vehicle from the company, priced at Rs 81.64 lakh and Rs 83.10 lakh. The model will be brought to India in a completely built unit (CBU) and initially sold through only select outlets in the metros.

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