Toyota, the world’s top carmaker, launched the diesel versions of its entry-level Etios sedan and Etios Liva hatchback in India on Friday, catering to the rising demand for diesel-powered vehicles in the country.
Priced between 5.54 lakh and 7.87 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), both models will be powered by an imported 1.4-litre diesel engine touted to give an average of 23.59 km a litre.
The Etios sedan diesel will be 90,000 costlier than its petrol version, priced between 6.44 lakh and 7.87 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) while the Etios Liva diesel will cost 95,000 more than the petrol variant with price tags between 5.54 lakh and 5.89 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).
Toyota Kirloskar Motors, Toyota's Indian subsidiary, has sold over 33,000 Etios cars, including 5,500 Liva hatchbacks, till August. With the launch of the diesel cars, it aims to increase sales of its Etios brand to 63,000 by the end of 2011. Toyota Kirloskar plans to raise production at its second plant in Bangalore to 210,000 units a year by 2013, from the current 120,000.
“We have seen the market dynamics changing and the rapid shift toward diesel cars. Customers are gradually buying diesel despite the higher ticket price, that has skewed the market in its favour,” said Toyota Kirloksar deputy managing director (marketing) Sandeep Singh.
The share of Toyota’s diesel vehicles in its total sales in India has grown to over 70 percent in the last two months.
The company, which aims to sell over 135,000 cars this year, is looking at educating its customers on the benefits of petrol cars. “We want to have a 40:60 mix of petrol and diesel sales and would be asking our dealers to propagate the benefits more affordable petrol cars,” Singh added. The firm is also ramping up the number of dealerships it operates across the country to 175 from 163 now.