The world’s largest car maker Toyota said it will start trial production of the much-anticipated Etios for the Indian market from next month, three months ahead of its proposed launch. Toyota is investing Rs 3,200 Crore to set up its second manufacturing facility in Bangalore to roll out its first small car in India by December.
“Before starting the commercial production in December, we will have two rounds of trial productions. While one will start in September, the next one will be in October,” said Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) Deputy Managing Director (Commercial) Shekar Viswanathan.
He, however, declined to comment on how many units the company plans to produce during the round two of trial productions. “These cars are not for sales. We will run it on test tracks for quality and all other checks. We may also later dismantle these cars,” Viswanathan said.
Over 2,000 engineers from Toyota’s Indian and Japanese operations have been working on developing the model for the last 4 years. Earlier in January, TKM had unveiled the concept Etios, which is being specifically developed for the Indian market.
The company will launch both hatchback and sedan under the Etios series with 1.2 litre and 1.5 litre petrol engines respectively. It would look into opportunities of introducing a diesel variant also.
“We are looking at every possible alternative to launch Etios. Apart from diesel and petrol variants, we will study the market and demand for launching the car in other fuel options (LPG and CNG) and hybrid mode,” said Toyota Motor Asia Pacific President Mitsuhiro Sonoda.
TKM had reported over 7 per cent sales growth in India last year at 55,497 units and is expecting a jump of 15-20 per cent in 2010. It is expecting to sell about 65,000 units of the Etios next year out of a target of 1.5 lakh units across all models in India. Toyota sells Corolla Altis and Camry, SUVs Fortuner and Prado, and utility vehicle Innova in India.