The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Toyota hints at new MUV model

New Delhi, Oct. 22 (PTI): Toyota Kirloskar Motor Ltd (TKML) has indicated that it might change the model of its multi- utility-vehicle ‘Qualis’ in the near future as part of strategies to introduce modern vehicles in the domestic market.

“I think from now on, we will not be speaking in terms of upgradation but we will be looking at model change. It could be one of the possibilities. The days of flogging the same model for five, 10 or 15 years have gone,” TKML deputy managing director K. K. Swamy said here.

The Qualis, launched in January 2000, is one of the highest selling utility vehicle models in the country. However, competition from contemporary models like Mahindra and Mahindra’s recently-launched ‘Scorpio’ saw TKML introduce an upgraded variant of the vehicle last month.

During April-September this year, sales of the Qualis increased nearly 1 per cent to 14,376 units. The total domestic utility vehicle industry grew 1.7 per cent to 51,037 units during this period.

Asked whether TKML has plans to import utility vehicles from Toyota’s overseas subsidiaries for the Indian market, Swamy said, “We can make one. In fact, simultaneous engineering is one of the things which we are actively looking at”.

He said the company was targeting a 50 per cent reduction in costs of materials, production, overheads, selling and distribution. “At first, we are trying to get costs down and be competitive so that we can get future models,” Swamy said, adding that a continued localisation programme has increased the localisation content of the Qualis to 74 per cent.

Driving on the back of the aggressive cost reduction exercise, TKML has started making cash profits this year, which is within three years of commencing operations. It also aims to make net profits by recovering all its accumulated losses and depreciation within the next three years, he said.

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