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Toyota brings home the answer to Octavia

New Delhi, Nov. 24: The Octavia—Skoda India’s sedan that straddles a lucrative niche between the popular sedans and the executive saloons like the Sonata, Mondeo, Camry and Accord—will finally get competition.

Toyota India is set to launch the Corolla—one of its best-selling sedans world wide—in India in the first quarter of 2003.

Toyota’s plant in Bidadi in Karnataka is being rejigged to accommodate the production of at least 10,000 units of the Corolla in the very first year of launch. The company has already invested a sum of Rs 225 crore in the project.

“The capacity of the Bidadi plant is being raised from 30,000 vehicles a year to 50,000 a year, partly to accommodate growing sales of the multi-utility vehicle Qualis and to manufacture and sell a minimum of 10,000 Corollas in the very first year,” Toyota executives said.

The Corolla, with a 1.8-litre, four-cylinder, 16 valve, DOHC VVTi engine that produces 130 hp at 6,000 rpm, will be a lot less powerful than the Octavia, which has a 2-litre petrol version model and a 1.9 litre diesel version. The Octavia is offered in two trims—Elegance and Ambiente— at Rs 12.94 lakh and Rs 10.79 lakh respectively. Both trims are available in petrol and diesel engines. The petrol engine is 1.8L 20V, turbo 110 kw engine accelerating from 0-100 kph in 8.4 seconds. The diesel engine uses accelerator pump technology with a six-speed transmission.

There’s no word from Toyota on the price of the Corolla but it’s a fair bet that the car will be priced close to the Octavia.

“The Corolla will be strategically placed between the popular sedan and premium sedans as we feel that executives who go for costly sedans look for style at a cheaper price than the imported D-segment vehicles currently in the market.”

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