Toyota is planning to play it big on the volume side by entering the mid-segment sedans with its globally successful car ‘Yaris’. If they price it right, Yaris – which will be pegged as a B-segment sedan – will give a tough competition to the industry leaders like Honda’s City and Hyundai’s Verna, according to analysts. Also Read - Car makers Hyundai, Kia invest $300 million in Ola
“Yaris is our answer to the volume segment sedans. Since the car comes with lots of industry-first features like seven airbags, all four disc-breaks, automatic version even in base models, we hope to repeat what the Corolla has done to the premium sedan segment with Yaris,” D Raja, deputy MD for sales & service at Toyota Kirloskar Motor, told on the sidelines of the Delhi Auto expo. Also Read - Toyota has finally agreed to bring Android Auto to its vehicles: Report
The B-segment sedans average a 15,000-18,000 units a month or 2 lakh units a year and is a key market for premium players, Raja said. When asked about pricing, Raja said it is yet to be decided but adding it will be on par with the market or even lower depending on the localisation they will be able to attain. Also Read - 5G could improve safety of self-driving cars: Gartner
“We haven’t decided on the price as the launch itself is not decided yet,” he said.
For the Japanese rival Honda, City has been and is still the flagship and both in terms of volume and brand recall, while with the new Verna Hyundai has had gained some big traction and for a few months it had even overtook City, which is the segment leader.
But for the full year of 2017, City topped the segment with a monthly average of 4,000 units and Verna too running a close race. The other differentiators of the car which will be rolled out from its Bengaluru facility in a few months, are roof- mounted air vents for the rear passengers, a power seat for the driver, he said, adding the car comes with 1.5-litre petrol engine.
When asked about the impact of the Budget on the its business, especially imported hybrid units, Raja said, since the GST rollout, even the domestically made Camry hybrid volumes had plunged. “We were averaging 100 units a month with Camry hybrid. This had plunged to 20-25 after the GST rollout on high taxation. Since November, it has improved to 40 a month. But still this is not a sustainable volume,” Raja said.
On the overall volume front, he said the company had sold 1.4 lakh units last fiscal year with a growth of 6-7 percent over the previous year. The industry is growing at 9 percent and “we hope to reflect that level in our volume too”, he added.
The new Innova still drives its volumes at about 72,000 units in 2017 yanking up a market share of close to 40 percent, while the premium Fortuner clocked around 24,000 units which is 75 percent of the segment and Corolla averaging 5,000 units with 45 percent of the market pie in the segment.