Toyota small cars to rival Maruti Suzuki could become reality in the next two or three years and will be re-badged versions of Daihatsu
Toyota Kirloskar Motor could be introducing an array of small cars in the Indian market soon according to a report from Autocarindia. The Japanese automaker will have the company of its sister brand Daihatsu who is sort of expert in its home market particularly in the entry-level small car space. This is not a new plan obviously as the speculation of Toyota entering small car segment dates back to almost a decade.
As per the report, since Toyota was not on full control of Daihatsu in those days and both companies do have issues in agreeing upon same things, plans to rival Maruti Suzuki have been put on hold as Daihatsu had different ideas. Moreover, the now immensely growing Indian market wasn’t of huge moving for the brand in those days.
But the scenario has dramatically changed of late as Toyota bought into Daihatsu fully as opposed to 52 per cent ownership before. As the stage is fresh and Toyota President Akio Toyoda has given green signal for Daihatsu to command in the small car province, the entry into Indian market has been fast approaching.
Toyota will have kept close eyes on what Renault has been doing with Kwid as the global small hatchback built on CMF-A platform directed right against the industry leading Maruti Suzuki Alto is giving headaches to the leading car maker. In the beginning the Daihatsu cars will be introduced with the Toyota badge and they won’t be aged models but will comprise of latest technologies, modern styling and better equipment level.
The local production facilities will be utilised to extremity as close to 98 percent localisation of parts is expected. The cars will be specifically tuned by Daihatsu to adapt to Indian conditions. Toyota’s brand image will be fully leveraged before Daihatsu cars under its own badge enter India. It will understandably be positioned below Toyota much like what’s been happening in Malaysian and Indonesian markets.
The market entry is still two or three years away and some rumours suggest Daihatsu officials have visited India for vendor enquiry. The initial cars are expected to compete against WagonR, Grand i10 and Ertiga alongside a compact SUV. Furthermore, an affordable MPV under both brands will also grace the volume market.