Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Friday, Feb 25, 2005
Marketing - New Products & Services
Toyota rolls out `Innova'
Mr Fujio Cho, President, Toyota Motor Corporation, with Mr Vikram Kirloskar, Vice-Chairman, Toyota Kirloskar Motor, at the launch of the Toyota Innova in Mumbai on Thursday. - Paul Noronha
Mumbai , Feb. 24
TOYOTA Kirloskar Motor (TKM) on Thursday launched `Innova,' a vehicle that seeks to merge the qualities of a sedan and a multi-purpose van (MPV).
Priced in the Rs 6,76,000-9,37,000 (ex-showroom Thane) range for its petrol versions and Rs 7,36,000-9,97,000 for diesel versions, the vehicle is projected to fetch sales of 45,000 units this year, with 4,500 units in the first month.
Innova is one of the five models designed as part of Toyota's Innovative International Multi-Purpose Vehicle (IMV) project. "The IMV project was a bold challenge towards changing Toyota's conventional way of developing cars and producing cars entirely. Toyota completely reviewed the way it designed, developed, procured and produced vehicles.
"The biggest challenge for us was to conclude each process outside Japan, which was a totally new concept for Toyota. Procurement of parts, production and logistical arrangements are now all done outside Japan. In this sense, among the various projects that we have handled, we are sure that this IMV project is a truly global project and the Innova, a truly international model," Mr Fujio Cho, President, Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC), told reporters.
According to Mr Atsushi Toyoshima, Managing Director, TKM, the decision to introduce Innova here was based on three factors.First, over the last five years, the `C' segment of the car market has grown by 20 per cent every year. The MPV segment has also grown at double-digit levels.
Second, with an improving lifestyle and better roads, the Indian consumer wants to take his vehicle for long drives with friends and family. Third, there is a latent desire of customers, including those owning MPVs, to seek attributes like greater interior space and overloading ability, while passenger car buyers look for better styling and improved riding comfort.
Innova brings together the space and fuel economy of an MPV with the style, agility and power of a sedan. TKM has described it as "the first three-row seating passenger car" in the Indian market. The IMV project, said Mr K. Hosokawa, Executive Chief Engineer (IMV), TMC, has spawned pick-ups and sports utility vehicles as well. "In India, we start from Innova," he said.
TKM incurred an investment of Rs 600 crore specifically for manufacturing Innova. Mr Cho said that Toyota expects the Indian vehicle market to be two million units or more by 2010 and the company is targeting a 10 per cent market share over the next five years. To get there, it would need other models besides the existing ones, he said replying to a question on whether Toyota would bring in a compact car.
TKM currently has the capacity to produce 60,000 vehicles a year.
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