Toyota Kirloskar Motors Limited (TKML) is the latest car maker in India to enter the hatchback styled crossover segment. The Japanese automaker will launch the Etios Cross hatchback in the next few weeks and the car has already begun arriving at dealerships. Showcased at the 2014 Indian Auto Expo, the Etios Cross is a body kitted version of the Liva hatchback with other improvements such as a higher ground clearance and mildly revised interiors.
Engines and transmissions will be borrowed from the Liva hatchback. The engine line up on the Etios Cross will include 1.2 liter and 1.5 liter petrol engines and a 1.4 liter D-4D turbo diesel engine. A 5 speed gearbox will be standard across all variants of the car. Toyota dealers have begun accepting bookings for the Etios Cross. The car is likely to be priced about 50,000 rupees higher than equivalent variants of the Liva hatchback.
The Etios Cross is already on sale in South America and the car represents Toyota’s latest move to boost sales of the Liva, a hatchback that hasn’t managed to hit it off at the hustings. With monthly sales of under 2,000 units, the Liva hatchback is a slow seller in India’s booming B+ segment hatchback market. Reasons for poor sales of the hatchback range from a build that feels un-Toyota like and interiors that have seen seen too many corners cut.
While Toyota made amends last year by introducing a facelifted version of the Liva keeping in mind customer feedback, the facelift has failed to do much in terms of pepping up sales. With the Etios Cross entering the crossover-styled hatchback segment, which hasn’t found much traction in India, the odds are against Toyota when it comes to boosting sales of the Liva hatchback range.
The Volkswagen Cross Polo will be the Etios Cross’ immediate competitor while the upcoming Fiat Avventura will join the crossover-styled hatchback brigade in the next months. Prominent failures in this segment include the Volkswagen Cross Polo and the Skoda Fabia Scout, two cars that haven’t managed to capture the imagination of buyers.
Spyshots courtesy FlyWheel