Just recently we wrote a post on India’s highest selling car, which is the Maruti Suzuki Alto. Now its time to look at the other end of the scale. Which is India’s lowest selling car? The answer is quite shocking. India’s least selling car is indeed a global success, the Toyota Prius. The Maruti Suzuki Alto sells 99,000 times what the Prius sells. But how did the Prius become such a massive failure, in one of the largest car markets in the world?The Toyota Prius was first launched in India in January 2010 and the new Prius was launched in January 2012. The Prius is brought into India as a completely-built-unit (CBU), which results in a hefty duty of 110 percent. Available in two variants, the Prius Z3 is priced at Rs. 34.31 lakhs ($65,000) while the Prius Z4 is priced at Rs. 36.18 lakhs ($62,000). These prices are insane, considering similarly sized gasoline alternatives are priced below $20,000, which is one-third the price. A person would take more than 10 years to recover the additional savings offered by a hybrid vehicle and we are not even factoring the additional cost of battery replacement. Also spare parts availability is an issue and parts are not readily available. Since the volumes are so low, no Toyota dealer stocks them.
Now you would like to know how many units of the Prius Toyota sells every month. It is not a a difficult question to answer. For the first four months of 2012, Toyota sold zero units of the Prius in the Indian market. Last month, they managed (don’t ask how) to sell one unit.
Faisal Ali Khan is the owner/operator of MotorBeam.com, a website covering the auto industry of India.