The deputy managing director of Toyota Kirloskar Motors Limited, N. Raja, has just stated that no official discussion regarding the discontinuation of the Corolla Altis D-Segment sedan has happened within the company. This is in contrast to various media reports that have noted that the Toyota Corolla Altis sedan would not have a successor come April 2020, when the Bharat Stage 6 (BS6) emission norms kick in. Toyota has not indicated whether it would make the 1.4 liter D-4D turbocharged diesel engine BS6 compliant, which leaves it only with the 1.8 liter petrol engine for the Corolla. Globally, the all-new Corolla gets a petrol-hybrid engine, which could be too expensive for the Indian market. This is the reason why most reports have indicated that Toyota would no longer sell the Corolla in India.
Meanwhile, here’s the official statement from the Toyota India deputy managing director to ETAuto,
Officially there is no discussion on stopping Corolla. Still, the discussion is on to continue Corolla. The future model of Corolla which is BS-VI compliant is available globally. We have been discussing with the parent company. More clarity will come closer to the time of BS-VI norm implementation. We are studying the demand of Corolla. The customer of C-sedan segment (Executive sedan segment) is either moving towards B-high segment (Honda City, Toyota Yaris and Hyundai Verna) or it move towards D-segment (Toyota Camry and Skoda Superb) as it offers more luxury. Over the years the C-sedan segment is shrinking.
For years, the Toyota Corolla Altis has been a best seller in the D-Segment sedan space, outselling the likes of the Skoda Octavia, Hyundai Elantra and Honda Civic. Now though, the new Honda Civic has raced to the top-spot, and the Corolla Altis has been edged out to the second place. If Toyota brings in the all-new, 12th generation Corolla, it can potentially take back the lead from the Civic but everything will depend on pricing as the petrol-hybrid version of the Corolla is likely to add many lakh rupees to the price tag of the car. The question remains whether the Indian car buyer would be willing to fork out a premium for the car, especially when most buyers are opting for SUVs rather than D-Segment sedans.
Ever since the Mahindra XUV500 luxury crossover was launched in 2011, at a cracker of a price tag, the market share of D-Segment sedans such as the Corolla and the Civic have been constantly declining. With more SUVs being launched in the same price bracket as the D-Segment sedans, a further dip in sales is likely. Tata Motors recently launched the Harrier and last week. MG Motor brought in the Hector SUV. More automakers such as Kia, Honda and Skoda are planning similar SUVs.