Toyota Corolla Diesel to hit Indian roads in August

Japanese car manufacturer Toyota has announced that a diesel version of the popular Corolla Altis will be launched in India in August 2010.

Update: Toyota Corolla Altis diesel launched, prices start Rs 10.9 lakhs (21 July, 2010)

The vehicle launch has been confirmed by Toyota Kirloskar Motors’ Deputy Managing Director Sandeep Singh who said that the diesel powered Corolla Altis was definitely among the company’s plans. We had speculated on the Corolla Altis diesel earlier this month. There have been rumours about a diesel version of the popular Corolla Altis since 2008 – but the company was always tight-lipped about it.

Though the specifications of the Corolla Altis diesel are yet to be officially released, the car is assumed to powered by a variant of the 1.4-litre turbo diesel engine that is present in the Toyota Yaris, which is sold outside India as we had reported earlier at DWS.

Last month, some websites and news outlets said that the Toyota Corolla Altis diesel had a mileage of 21.4 km per litre as per figures which were ostensibly obtained from the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI). We don’t know if this is true or not. If the rumour was true, this could place the Altis diesel among cars with the highest fuel efficiency in India. Certain reports also suggest that road-testing of the Corolla Altis is already being done in India and that the car will have a CRDI engine.

The demand for a diesel-powered sedan has been noted by Toyota Kirloskar Motors as being very high in India. Better power and performance along with increased fuel efficiency are said to be a feature of such cars. The Toyota Corolla line of cars has also enjoyed a lot of popularity worldwide since it was first launched in 1966. It was the highest selling car globally in 1997 and has sold over 35 million units till 2007. The car was brought into the Indian car market five years ago and has already managed to sell more than 40,000 units.

Toyota will also launch hatchback and sedan variants of the Etios powered by petrol engines.

However, the company is also looking to come up with an Etios diesel as well, due to the large number of requests and enquiries that it received for a diesel model during the Auto Expo 2010 held earlier this year. An official from Toyota also revealed that it was not planning on releasing a hybrid version of the Etios in India. He also said that the company was struggling to meet the supply of the Toyota Fortuner diesel model.

Interestingly, the the latest entrant into the diesel club was the Chevrolet Cruze has been a run away success and recently Skoda getting the CRDI advanced engines put the Toyota a bit back in sales.