Toyota hopes small car segment will boost sales next fiscal

May 2nd, 2009 - 7:01 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, May 2 (IANS) Toyota Kirloskar Motors (TKM) is not expecting huge sales growth this fiscal despite conditions improving in the last quarter, but hopes that its small car portfolio will push up sales in 2010-11.
TKM, a joint venture between Japanese auto major Toyota and Indian firm Kirloskar, is planning to introduce two compact offerings by the 2010-end - a hatchback and the other a sedan, company deputy managing director (marketing) Sandeep Singh told reporters here Saturday.

“The market condition seems to be improving, but it’s mainly in other segments (A and B in which TKM does not have any model). 2009 would be fairly flat for us,” Singh added.

Toyota sold 51,800 vehicles last year and is targeting 52,000 units this year.

He said the company had taken steps to revamp its dealer network across the country.

“Currently we have 85 showrooms in the country. We plan to take this number up to 150 in the next one-and-a-half years when the compact car is launched,” Singh said.

TKM will manufacture the small car in a new facility near Bangalore, which is coming up at an investment of Rs.3,200 crore. The new plant will initially have a capacity of 70,000 vehicles per year.

The company said the January-April period was considerably better than the second half of 2008 and the demand for Innova had gone up.

“We are going to scale up our production from 3,500 units a month to 3,800 this month and then will increase it to 5,000 cars a month by July,” Singh added.

He, however, said there was still no reprieve from the ailing commercial vehicle segment, which used to account for almost 28 percent of Toyota’s sales, but had shrunk to less than 16 percent due to the market conditions.

The commercial vehicle segment is the worst-hit by the economic slowdown and the credit crunch. The segment contracted by over 26 percent in the country last fiscal.

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