On March 6 in New Delhi, Toyota handed the keys of an Etios, the millionth Toyota sold in India, to its happy owners. This milestone, more than just a sales figure, represents our ongoing commitment to producing and selling vehicles in India.
At a ceremony marking the milestone Mr. N. Raja, senior vice president of Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM), thanked Toyota’s customers, dealer partners, employees and suppliers for their support and commitment, and pledged to “continue to focus our efforts in bringing Toyota’s globally renowned products to the Indian market”.
What’s the story behind Toyota’s million sales? A lot has happened since TKM was established in India in 1997: many products have been localized, the network of suppliers and dealers has been enhanced, and annual production capacity has hit 310,000 units.
TKM began producing the Corolla in 2002 and the Innova in 2005. This was followed by production of the Fortuner in 2009, the Camry in 2012, and the Camry Hybrid in 2013.
No vehicle represents Toyota’s commitment to localization better than the Etios, an entry-level family car that entered development in 2005. To create the Etios, our engineers conducted research all over the country, and worked out how to adapt the vehicle for the Indian market. To clearly identify and further understand the qualities that customers look for when buying a B-segment vehicle, we held focus groups with 700 Indian customers. The resulting vehicle offered improved ground clearance, under-body protection, steel sheets in areas prone to rusting, and use of chipping-resistant paint. Finally, we reworked the entire design process so that the Etios could be manufactured locally.
With the Etios, Toyota developed a car specifically for the Indian market at an affordable price while procuring parts locally. The Etios sedan was launched in December 2010, and was joined in June 2011 by the hatchback Etios Liva. And there’s a new member of the family: the Etios Cross, TKM’s first crossover, was unveiled at the Auto Expo 2014 in New Delhi! Like the Etios sedan and the Etios Liva, Toyota will produce the Etios Cross in India. It’s not just about production and sales growth—we also aim to create job opportunities across India. A sustainable growth strategy, along with social initiatives like the Toyota Technical Training Institute (established 2007), has empowered Toyota in India not only with the right products but also with the right minds to work on those products.
But what shows Toyota’s growth in India perhaps more than anything else is the solid base of happy customers!