Japanese auto major Toyota will hire 2,000 people in India this year as it revs up to bolster market share by launching small cars, pitting itself against established players such as Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai in a market which is showing signs of slowdown fuelled by rising fuel prices and interest rates.
Toyota Kiroskar, a joint venture between Toyota Motor Corp and Kirloskar Motor, will court talent from India as it looks to reduce the number of expats.
“We will require a strong manpower as we introduce new products in the volume segment for customers with different aspirations while we increased the number of expatriates in senior positions in the last two years to 75, now we intend to reduce it. They were part of the initial hand-holding,” said Toyota Kirloskar Motor managing director, Hiroshi Nakagawa.
Toyota Kirloskar added 2,000 people in the last two years to ramp up its employee strength to 5,000 when the booming automobile industry posted its record 30% growth buoyed by rising disposable incomes. Toyota’s rivals such as Volkswagen, Honda, BMW, Audi and Hyundai are offering fatter salaries to lure high performers away from established players like Maruti. Automobile industry currently employs 13 million people and this will go up to 25 million by 2016 as it requires skilled manpower to manage the complexities of growth, according to industry experts.
The move by the world’s largest carmaker by sales to go for largescale hiring stems from its desire to boost share of emerging markets from 40 percent in 2010 to 50 percent in the next 2-3 years, with its growing sales of fuel efficient small vehicles. With global markets such as Japan, North America and Europe showing signs of degrowth, India and China seem to be the focus markets for Toyota. “Indian market is much bigger for us now, than in the past,” Nakagawa said.
The company with products including Corolla, Innova, Camry and Fortuner was addressing only 12 percent of the market. With the launch of the Etios and the Liva, it has gone upto 48 percent. “The next two years, our focus will be the compact, B segment,” said Sandeep Singh, deputy MD, Toyota Kirloskar. The Etios and its variants will be the gamechanger for Toyota in the Indian market.
“Etios will be the flagship product for us. As it was developed and adapted for India, there are a lot of learnings in terms of positioning, pricing and sourcing that been taken up globally,” Singh said. The compact segment currently accounts for more than 50 percent of the car market. Last year the company sold 74,000 units and this year it would touch 140,000 units.