Toyota's Etios Coming To China?

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
toyota s etios coming to china

Toyota is working on a small car based on its emerging market platform that underpins the Indian Etios, and will release it in China by 2013 – if The Nikkei [sub] is correctly informed. There is nobody working at Toyota on Thursdays and Fridays as a power saving measure, so there is nobody to ask. We expect no more than the usual “we cannot comment on future models” when people will be back to work on Saturday. With that in mind, let’s go down rumor lane.

Using the Etios platform for China would not come as a surprise. It is Toyota’s low cost car that had been developed with all emerging markets in mind. Toyota had launched it in India, because “if we are successful here, we will be successful in other emerging markets,” said Toyota’s Chief Engineer Yoshinori Noritake. The platform is built so that it can be adapted to the needs of the respective target market. It is a real car, not a sardine can on wheels.

A Brazilian derivative is in the works, a Russian derivative may be in the works. It would be a sin not to make a Chinese derivative. When we tested the Indian spec Etios on the Fuji Speedway a few weeks ago, Toyota folk mentioned that the Chinese market demands a lot of car for little money, so they obviously had done some homework, and may have already played around with more wheelbase on the CAD computer.

Having been overtaken by Nissan in Chinese volume, Toyota needs a low cost winner in China.

The Nikkei says that production of the car is planned at “two local factories” in China. Two factories maybe, but unlikely with two joint ventures as the Nikkei surmises. Toyota has a joint venture with FAW near the eastern port city of Tianjin. Toyota also has a joint venture with Guangzhou Automobile Group Co. in China’s south. It would be against all Chinese customs if two joint venture partners would get the same car. Toyota is busy expanding capacities at both, so let’s see who will get it.

China Daily reports today that Toyota is working on raising engine output capacity in China “by 30 percent to 1.3 million units a year in 2013.” This added capacity will be spread over both joint venture partners. According to China Daily, the “1300cc and 1500cc” engines will “power a low-cost, compact car planned for the world’s biggest market.” The Indian Etios comes with a 1,500 cc engine, and the Etios Liva hatchback comes with a 1,200 cc engine.

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2 of 8 comments
  • Pete Zaitcev Pete Zaitcev on Jul 29, 2011

    That "sardine can" reference was a shot at Nano, right?

  • JD-Tippit JD-Tippit on Jul 30, 2011

    Don't know why but the Etios never appealed to my tastes. It really does look like 90s sedan built by GM. Unfortunately, 3rd world consumers moving up from Ambassadors and Ladas will be sold on this.

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