The order books in India for Toyota Motor Corp.’s Etios sedan have only been opened on Dec. 1 but already, 12,000 orders have been received. It’s estimated to be on course to meet the subcompact's annual sales target of 70,000 units.
Toyota designed the Etios intentionally for the fast-growing Indian market, with a target to expand its market share using its first entry into the mass-volume subcompact segment in India.
Toyota’s fiercest global rivals Volkswagen AG and General Motors Co. are also increasing their presence in India. Yoshinori Noritake, the car's chief engineer, told reporters in Tokyo that the orders are “far bigger” than he expected, especially since the car isn’t in the showrooms yet.
Toyota is aiming to nearly double sales in India next year to 145,000 units, with the prediction that Etios will account for about 50% of this figure. The Etios will start production on Dec. 20 at Toyota's factory near Bangalore.
The Japanese manufacturer will import the engines and transmissions for the Etios until local engine production begins in autumn 2012 and transmission production starts in early 2013. Eventually, Toyota plans to export the model to other growing markets.
The subcompact segment in India is a quickly expanding segment making up over 70% of the total car market. Maruti Suzuki continues to have a commanding lead in India but Toyota, Honda Motor Co., GM, VW and Ford Motor Co. are doing what they can to get a bigger piece of this lucrative segment. [via reuters]