When the Etios was launched in December 2010, it had a big response from potential buyers, with bookings crossing 12,000 cars in just 14 days. With the big tsunami in Japan in March however, Toyota plants in India faced production constraints as components availability from Japan became a problem.
But now, according to the company, deliveries are on track. Says Sandeep Singh, deputy managing director, Toyota Kirloskar, “We would have delivered 20,000 Etios cars by end of June.”
Says Singh, “Initially, we had a huge problem with Etios demand, and had to struggle to meet production. But now, we have put in two shifts with overtime and I’m happy to say our waiting period is now down to just 8 weeks, and it will be about 4 weeks only by the end of the month.”
According to Singh, Toyota was down to about 30% of its production capacity. “We lost production of about 10,000 vehicles in all,” say Singh. Now, production is back to 100% capacity.
But has there been a dip in demand for the car as well, after the recent hike in fuel prices? “Not really,” Singh told CarToq, “Demand for the Etios continues to be high as our customers see quality and value for money in the product.”
The other factor has been a rising shift among buyers for diesel cars, with their better value proposition (lower fuel cost, higher mileage). So is Toyota is going to launch the diesel Etios any time toon?
“We will look at diesel options only later, after the Liva launch,” says Singh.
Toyota is likely to better its price proposition through more localization of parts in Etios. Toyota presently has a 70 percent localization level in the Etios and hopes to take that to 90 percent in the next two years, after engine and transmission manufacturing is also shifted to India. Toyota has two plants set up in Bidadi, Karnataka, with a capacity of 90,000 cars in the first plant and 120,000 cars in the second plant. The Etios is being produced in the second plant.
Toyota’s ramping up of production on the Etios is well-timed. The company is planning to launch the Etios Liva hatchback on June 27, and it will need to cater to the additional demand that’s likely to be generated.