Buoyed by the growing sales successes that luxury car marques are experiencing in India, Toyota Kirloskar Motors Limited (TKML) is reconsidering the Lexus luxury car brand for the Indian market. The Lexus luxury car marque has been on Toyota’s radar for India over the past few years. However, the steep import duties levied on cars imported through the completely built unit (CBU) route has dissuaded Toyota from going the whole hog and launching the Lexus line up of cars in India.
Meanwhile, the Indian government’s Make-in-India manufacturing initiative that encourages local manufacturing, is another signal that import duties on CBU vehicle could go further up in the times to come. Coming back to Toyota’s plans, the Japanese automaker is said to be working on a strategy to price the Lexus line up of cars more competitively in India, by employing the CKD route of import.
The Lexus luxury label of cars have eschewed diesel power in favour of petrol-electric hybrids. Internationally, Lexus’ focus on hybrid power has seen the luxury car maker dump all of its diesel engines, in both sedans and SUVs. Along with the CKD import route for the Lexus car range, Toyota will also have to work towards changing buyer preferences in the luxury car space as diesels rule the roost in India.
To make buyers adopt hybrids on a larger scale, Toyota’s marketing department will need to come up innovative ideas to educate buyers about how hybrid cars can be as efficient as diesel powered ones, even as tail pipe emissions are reduced significantly. Toyota will be hoping that the Indian government firms up the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) 2020 and offers significant duty reductions/subsidies on electric and hybrid vehicles.
Chunky import duty exemptions and subsidies on electric and hybrid vehicles under the NEMMP 2020 could give Toyota’s Lexus hybrid luxury cars a significant price advantage, and this is exactly what the Japanese automaker needs in a market where hybrid luxury cars are yet to take off in a significant way. For now though, Lexus’ India entry remains a work in progress. Keep an eye on this space as we continually keep a track Toyota’s various moves when it comes to bringing the Lexus car luxury marque to India.