The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Toyota to step on the gas with Corolla

Calcutta, Dec. 29: Toyota Kirloskar Motor, subsidiary of the Japanese auto major Toyota Motor Corporation, is set to raise production capacity from 35,000 units to 50,000 units as it gears up to take Indian roads by storm with the Corolla—its global best-seller.

Sources said the company, in which the Japanese parent holds 99 per cent, has invested Rs 300 crore in a production line for the Corolla at its Bidadi plant and to expand the plant’s overall capacity.

“Our first vehicle Qualis has already made strong inroads into the Indian market with demand growing by the day. We expect a similar response to Corolla as well,” they added.

Corolla, a mid-size sedan, remains the Toyota’s top selling model for 34 consecutive years in Japan and tops the US charts as well.

The car will be placed in the C-segment, where it will jostle for space with the Hyundai Accent, Fort Ikon, Opel Astra, Opel Corsa, Fiat Siena, Honda City and Mitsubishi Lancer.

“Although the segment is very crowded, we are quite optimistic about the Corolla which has withstood severe competition in countries like the US,” they said.

They said that the car, which will be available in three variants, will be competitively priced ranging from Rs 9 lakh to Rs 13 lakh.

The company aims at selling about 12,000 units of Corolla in the very first year itself—which will give it a market share of around 15-20 per cent.

While Corolla will be manufactured at the Bidadi plant from March next year, Toyota plans to import about 2,000 units from its subsidiary in Thailand in completely-knocked-down (CKD) form.

“The reason behind importing the car is just to introduce it in the Indian market,” they added.

The company recently launched its premium car—Camry—in India. It, however, will continue to be imported in CKD form and Toyota does not have any plans to manufacture the sedan at its Indian plant.

Toyota Kirloskar, which expects to post its maiden profit during the current fiscal after suffering three years of consecutive losses, has already invested more than Rs 900 crore.

More investments are in the pipeline as it toys with the idea of introducing a wider range of models in different categories over a period of three to five years.

The company, which has cornered the largest market share in the multi-purpose vehicle segment with Qualis alone, is targeting a 40 per cent jump in its turnover during the current fiscal to Rs 1,600 crore from Rs 1,131 crore last year.

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