Business Week reports that Toyota are planning to capture 10% of the Indian market. “India will play a pivotal role in Toyota’s global expansion plans,” Vice Chairman Kazuo Okamoto said today at the Delhi Auto Show. “The time has come for us to strategically accelerate our growth here.” Toyota is using the Delhi Auto show to showcase the cars which will lead the assault for 10% of the Indian market, the most important of which is Toyota Etios (which will also be produced in Brazil). Autocar.co.uk reports that Etios is 90% production ready and that it will go on sale in India at the end of 2010 (with first-year sales projected at 70k units). Because of the price (around $10000) it’ll go head to head with the Maruti Swift, the very boys who hold a huge chunk of the Indian car market. To help combat Maruti, a larger and better quality interior is key to the Etios. Autocar also reports that in order to keep costs under control, Toyota went on a cost cutting exercise. Measures taken include, limited sound proofing, a hard, but durable, interior and one windscreen wiper. But before you cry “Toyota are turning into GM”, don’t be fooled. Toyota tried the same thing with the Aygo in Europe and the end result was a good car which sells very well.
Toyota, however, isn’t the only company with eyes on 10% of the Indian market. Volkswagen want to crack the Indian market with their cheap-and-cheerful offering, the Polo. What makes the Wolfsburg Warriors’ efforts a little bizarre is the fact that bringing their little Polo to India put them at risk of taking market share away from Maruti, who are joint venture partners with Suzuki, who are part owned by Volkswagen. Could this move backfire for the Wolfsburg Warriors? Or will their strategy of focusing Maruti on rural markets and VW in urban areas pay off? Whatever the outcome of that brand entanglement, the Indian market is in gold rush mode, as every automaker and its associated sub-brands flood the market. The battle for the subcontinent won’t be easy on anyone.