Toyota Kirloskar Motors received over 2,500 bookings for the Toyota Fortuner after its official launch on Monday in India. The car company has estimated a sales target of 2,000 units for this year.
Shekar Viswanathan, deputy managing director, Toyota Kirloskar Motors, said the response was overwhelming, and “more than what we expected”. The bookings for Toyota Fortuner had opened on August 1.
“Now we are up to the brim and the target is to meet the demand. We hope to roll out the booked vehicles by November or December. The plan is to release 500 vehicles every month,” said Viswanathan. “We will have to then reassess the situation. The demand scenario will be reviewed by December, and then, we have taken a call on the production,” he said adding that it “Looks like the Indian SUV market has truly arrived.”
Sandeep Singh, Deputy Managing Director, Marketing at Toyota Kirloskar Motors told that the company would look at increasing production. “Most people want the Fortuner (delivery) only in January 2010, because the model would be 2010 tagged. The demand for the SUV is same throughout the country, even in rural areas. We already started production of the Fortuner from August 6, and are looking at selling more than 250 vehicles this month (from August 24-August 31), for which deliveries have started. Next month, I think we will be selling 400-450 units.”
However, he did not reveal the production numbers targeted for 2009. The Indian unit of Toyota is doing much better than overall global operations at the moment, according to Hiroshi Nakagawa, managing director of Toyota Kirloskar Motor. “India is more profitable (for Toyota) as compared with global operations, which are miserable at the moment,” he said on Monday.
Dealers across the country said the response to Fortuner had been “overwhelming and unexpected”.
Toyota Kirloskar Motors is also looking to increase the number of dealerships to 150 by 2010-end. “At the end of 2008, we had 90 dealerships,” said a senior company official.
Toyota Fortuner is priced at Rs 18.45 Lakh (ex-showroom, New Delhi). The SUV is being assembled at Toyota Kirloskar Motor’s plant in Bidadi.
Toyota Motor Corporation launched the Fortuner to the global market in 2005. The SUV has has sold over 2,50,000 units in 60 countries.