Toyota Kirloskar Motors Limited has imported two units of the 2015 Aygo hatchback into India, for research and development purposes. Notably, this isn’t the first instance of the Japanese automaker importing this hatchback into the country for research. A similar exercise was undertaken two years ago, in September 2012.
The Aygo imported into India is the second generation version of the hatchback, which hit the production line earlier this year. The Aygo rolls out of a single production facility, in this case the Toyota-Peugeot-Citroen manufacturing joint venture in the Czech Republic. The Aygo made its debut in 2005, with the first generation model having a 9 year run.
In its second generation, the Aygo comes with revised styling and a host of improvements all around. In essence, the second generation Aygo is an all new car. Measuring 3,445 mm in length, the Aygo is a car that is likely to be Toyota Kirloskar Motors Limited’s entry level model, sitting below the Liva as regards to price and positioning.
With word about the Liva and Etios going out of production from 2016 gaining ground rapidly, the Aygo could be the car that Toyota could turn to, for its volumes push in India’s budget car segment. The automaker is also expected to launch the Vios sedan in 2017, as a new C segment offering that peddles the “premium” appeal of the Toyota brand in India.
Coming back to the Aygo, the car uses a triple cylinder, 998 cc petrol engine that outputs 67 Bhp of peak power and 95 Nm of peak torque. While a five speed manual gearbox driving the front wheels comes standard, the Aygo is also available with an automated manual transmission. Interestingly, Toyota India has imported both the manual and AMT variants of the Aygo.
A high amount of localization will be key to the Aygo’s fortunes in India’s ultra competitive budget car market, whose domineering players are Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai. However, Toyota will have to walk the thin line between delivering its promise of “quality” and cutting costs by enough to make for a well priced budget car.
The Japanese automaker has faced flak from budget car buyers, many of whom have rejected the Etios sedan and Liva hatchback on the back of dowdy looks, below par interiors and other less-than-pleasing attributes. To avoid another Etios/Liva fiasco, Toyota will have to really up the ante with the likes of the Aygo and the Vios.
The Japanese brand is known for building ultra reliable cars with premium levels of finish. Cars such as the Corolla, Innova, Camry and Fortuner bear the Toyota stamp of solid engineering, quality and reliability. These attributes is what the car buyer has come to expect of the Toyota brand in India, with contemporary styling to boot.
Toyota is said to have enlisted its budget car making subsidiary, Daihatsu, for examining why the Etios and Liva haven’t done as well as anticipated. Daihatsu’s inputs could be vital for the Aygo, in terms of whittling down the car’s costs to suit the Indian market and its budget car buyer.