Toyota’s sales have nose-dived in its key markets — the US and Japan. The US market is down by a third and Japan has recorded its worst auto sales figures in 37 years. In light of this scenario, Toyota obviously has to turn to emerging markets to sustain growth. One such market is India, where although sales have cooled a bit, the market still has strong growth potential. And this is one reason why Toyota has woken from its slumber in India.
There’s a fresh new management from Japan to steer Toyota’s Indian operations and the company is at last in a hurry.
Indian car buyers will soon be treated to a host of new models from Toyota, including the world’s best-known hybrid car, which should hit our shores sometime in 2010.
We’ve spotted a thinly-disguised Prius undergoing testing outside of Bangalore. Sources within the company have indicated that it will be showcased at the International Engineering & Technology Fair (IETF) in Bangalore to gauge customer reaction, especially to the price.
The all-new Prius was internationally unveiled this year at the Detroit Motor Show in January. The new model will increase the Prius’ global footprint as Toyota plans to sell it in 80 markets worldwide, twice as many as the previous model. India will be one of the new markets for the latest Prius.
The Prius uses a 1.5-litre petrol engine mated to a 50kW motor. The combined hybrid drive gives the Prius 110bhp. The Prius also features regenerative braking. Additionally, the battery recharges under deceleration, with the motor acting as a generator. The Prius can run on electric mode only, which is useful in city traffic and produces no emissions. Under hard acceleration, however, the Prius uses the combined power of its petrol engine and electric motor to get a move on. The transmission is an electronically-controlled continuously variable transmission, or ECVT in Toyota-speak.
With all this hybrid tech, the Prius promises to deliver phenomenal fuel efficiency, especially in the stop-start conditions of our congested cities.
As reported earlier, Toyota will get an additional model line when the Fortuner goes on sale this October.
The Lexus brand too, which has been overdue, has finally been given the green light for a 2010 introduction. Dealers are already being identified to retail Toyota’s luxury brand.
Corolla Diesel & Land Cruiser Diesel!
Toyota has also woken up to the fact that it needs to beef up its diesel portfolio and both the Corolla and LandCruiser will come with diesel power.
This build-up that Toyota is planning is in preparation for its small car (EFC), which the company is feverishly working on to launch it at the 2010 Auto Expo. However, it is likely that the car will go on sale only in the latter half of 2010. However, Toyota’s small car won’t be that small — the three-box or saloon body style will be launched before the hatchback.