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`Toyota yet to finalise new plant location'

R.Y. Narayanan

Coimbatore , Jan. 25

THE management of Toyota Kirloskar Motor Pvt Ltd (TKM) is still evaluating what is the best place to locate its new plant and no final decision has been taken yet, said the company's Managing Director, Mr Atsushi Toyoshima.

He was speaking to newspersons after the inauguration of the new sales and service facility of the company dealer, Annaamalais Toyota. The MD said that the recent developments at TKM's factory in Karnataka where the company declared a lockout after a workers' strike "do not encourage" foreign investors to invest in India. He pointed out that an "investment-friendly environment" should be assured by the Central and State governments, if India is keen to attract foreign investment.

Asked whether the incidents at the factory in Bidadi near Bangalore would make Toyota Kirloskar look for other locations to establish its new plant, he said, "I would not say because of this problem." But the company is always evaluating what would be the best site for its future plant. "We don't know yet," was all that he could say about the new plant's location.

Replying to a question as to whether Tamil Nadu figures among the States where the new plant might be established, he said, "As of now, for future expansion, we have not decided anything."

When asked whether Toyota is contented to be a small volume-higher margin player in the country or whether it would like to be a mass-car producer, Mr Toyoshima said the company would "try to have both." He pointed out that Toyota is one of the manufacturers that has the full range of products and whenever it plans for expansion, it has to think of what kind of products to launch, as well as the sequence of the launch. Mr Vikram Kirloskar, Vice-Chairman, TKM, said there would be scope for everyone, since the demographic profile shows that the increase in the population of the people in 20-25 years age group in the next 10-15 years is expected to be around 200 million. A lot of car makers, including the existing ones, would come out with new models targeting this group, which would not happen anywhere else.

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