From the day the Toyota Fortuner was launched in India, it was obvious that the new SUV will sell like hotcakes. Which is what it is doing. I have had friends who were eyeing CR-Vs or Ford Endeavours call up to enquire about the Fortuner. Not just that, Fortuner has been one of the SUVs which have been getting consistently good traffic on this site for the last four yers – ever since our first story on the Fortuner.
Now there is more info on exactly how well Toyota has been doing in India with the Fortuner. This makes it their third big hit in India. The first was the Qualis, then the Toyota Corolla in all its versions, the Innova and now the Fortuner. I feel sorry for other companies if Toyota decides to launch a small car in India now. Looks like similar to Honda, Toyota is capable of ruling every segment it decides to get into.
Anyway, to the numbers now.
From August 1 t0 August 27 2009, the company received 2500 bookings. It was more than what they expected, said Toyota then. The company said that they were looking at increased production. Production was started in August 2006, but deliveries would take place only in November or December. Add to that, the number of people who want their Fortuner delivered only in January 2010 as it would then be tagged a 2010 model!
Fast forward a little bit. By September first week, we heard that the Toyota Fortuner had received 5000 bookings. Over 2500 vehicles will be sold till the end of December 2009 itself.
By the end of September, the information is that Fortuner has racked up bookings of 7000 vehicles. No doubt this has hit all other SUV-makers in India hard, though information is hard to come by at this point. But what we hear is that sales of all other SUVs in India – Ford Endeavour, Honda CR-V (not really an SUV), Chevrolet Captiva, Mitsubishi Pajero, Suzuki Grand Vitara – are down by a minimum of 40 % in September 2009 and a maximum of 85 %. We will have to wait for the sales figures to be released in October 2009 to figure out exactly who has been hit how hard, though.
I can’t help thinking that the company should have launched the Fortuner earlier, instead of playing it safe and launching it in 2009, when the economy is not doing all that great. If it was really launched in 2005 as expected then, probably Toyota could have ruled the Indian car market by 2009!