| ready to charm
New Delhi, Nov. 9: Toyota Motor plans to launch the Prado, its popular sports-utility vehicle (SUV), in India.
The local unit of Toyota Motor Corporation, the world’s third-largest auto maker, is looking to establish a foothold in the rapidly-growing SUV segment.
The fully-loaded Prado will be powered by a 3.0-litre, 4 cylinder, 16 valve, intercooled, turbo-diesel engine emitting an output of 161 bhp and carrying a price tag of around Rs 30 lakh.
In addition, it will boast of hill descent control and electronic brake distribution along with a six-speaker CD-Tape system.
Prado will compete with Mitsubishi Pajero priced at Rs 32 lakh, Hyundai India’s Terracan at Rs 18 lakh, General Motor’s Forrester priced between Rs 16-17 lakh and Suzuki’s Grand Vitara at Rs 15 lakh.
Sources said the car maker would import the model as a fully-built unit.
Currently, Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM), the local arm of Toyota Motor Co, makes Qualis utility vehicles, the mid-size Corolla family cars and imports Camry sedans as a fully-built unit.
Toyota Kirloskar is a joint venture between Japanese auto major Toyata Corporation and the Kirloskar group. It was set up with a paid-up capital of Rs 700 crore.
The company, located on the outskirts of Bangalore, expects to post a 57 per cent rise in revenues to Rs 2,700 crore in the current financial year. In the first nine months (April- September) of the current financial year it has sold 5,225 sedans and around 15,000 units of utility vehicles but expects sales to pick up steam in the fourth quarter.
The car maker had also an upward revision of sales growth after the government lowered the production tax on cars and utility vehicles in the budget for the financial year to March 2004.
The government, as part of an overall tax reform plan, had also reduced the peak rate of customs duty to 25 per cent from 30 in this year’s budget and lowered production tax to 24 per cent from 32 which has fuelled a demand surge.