Toyota has no plans of following up the launch of the Yaris sedan with a hatchback version of the car. Although Toyota sells both the Yaris sedan and the hatchback in global markets, it’ll adopt a different strategy for the Indian market. N Raja, Deputy Managing Director, Toyota Kirloskar Motors, ruled out the Yaris hatchback for the Indian market on the sidelines of the Yaris sedan’s launch.
There are two reasons that could have prompted Toyota to not consider the Yaris hatchback for India.
1. Cost. Like the Yaris sedan, the hatchback is a pretty loaded car in terms of features. Offering such a car in India could have resulted in the price touching nearly Rs. 10 lakhs, making the car unattractive for price conscious hatchback buyers.
2. Toyota already has a deal in place with Maruti Suzuki, for the supply of Baleno premium hatchbacks that will be badge-engineered with styling and branding changes. The Baleno with Toyota badges will be the automaker’s premium hatchback offering, sitting above the Liva but under the Etios, in terms of price and positioning.
Due to these factors, it makes no sense for Toyota to spend significant amounts of money on developing the Yaris hatchback for the Indian market. While the Yaris sedan and the hatchback share a lot of other parts, they are stylistically different and also feature different engines. The changes add to the complexity and higher costs, something that Toyota India is currently unwilling to bear. Besides, badge-engineering the Maruti Baleno would be a far cheaper option.
Toyota could also be banking on the fact that the Maruti Baleno is a hugely popular car in India, and that a rebadged, restyled version will also be similarly popular. The Toyota badge still commands a lot of respect in India for attributes such as high reliability, quality and low maintenance costs. These may help the Toyota badged Baleno sell well in India.