It has been a strong rumor that Toyota will launch the Daihatsu brand in Indian market. The speculation was that, Toyota will launch the Daihatsu cars under their own brand name, and the small car maker will use Toyota’s established network in the country. This speculation intimidated several other automakers like Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai who are strong players in the small car segment of the Indian automobile market.
Now in an interview with us, Mr. Naveen Soni (VP – Toyota India) has said, Daihatsu will enter the Indian market with its own identity. So, it’s sure, that another brand is gearing up to enter the Indian market with its exciting products. Mr. Soni also said that the new brand will take around three to four more years to enter the Indian market. It is to be seen what the brand offers, when they enter.
The new brand will build their own network in India but likely Daihatsu will use the Toyota’s manufacturing plant in Karnataka for their own use. Toyota has no significant small car in the country except for the Etios Liva. Earlier we thought they might focus on the segment, but as it seems they want to concentrate on the MPV, SUV and sedan segments instead.
There is a certain strength for Daihatsu in small cars that we can leverage very cleanly because that comes as one product range. It will maintain its individual identity that has been the declared mandate, however, the financial merger is yet to happen. But when our chairman and others declared it, they said that the separate Daihatsu will still remain as a brand. Whenever it comes under Toyota Brand also it’s more like a financial merger so Daihatsu as a separate brand is still existing under the Toyota umbrella“
said Mr. Naveen Soni (VP – Toyota India)
He added: “At the same time, when it comes under the same umbrella, there are markets like India and South-east Asia which are good potential small car markets where this merger can throw up new opportunity. Now at this stage, those opportunity have been explored and definitely India is one of the candidate country but it takes time for such things to mature, maybe up to 3 or 4 years ”
Daihatsu is the oldest Japanese automaker company, established in 1907. Presently the brand is owned by Toyota group. In the small car segment the brand has established their expertise pretty efficiently. The Japanese automaker builds small compact hatchbacks like Ayla, Sirion, Cuore, Materia and Terios. The Sirion is known as the Toyota Passo as well, which is the most fuel efficient petrol car in Japan. A few days ago we reported, Toyota Passo aka Daihatsu Sirion could be launched in India.
No wonder, the small car segment is the most competitive segment in Indian market. There are several automakers like Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai, Honda, and Tata Motors who sell small compact hatchbacks in the country. With the entry of Daihatsu in the market, the competition will only grow rapidly.