Toyota Motor Corp will sell a low-cost car in Thailand, adding to plans to introduce similar models in China, India and Brazil as the world’s biggest car maker seeks to boost growth in emerging markets.
The vehicle will be the “21st century Corolla,” Executive Vice President Yukitoshi Funo said in an interview yesterday, referring to the world’s best-selling car that Toyota introduced in 1966. “We have to enter the large-volume zone” in emerging markets, Funo said.
While Toyota is the leading car maker in Thailand, its sales in fast-growing economies including India and Brazil lag behind rivals. Adding cheaper models may also help the company raise sales in China, the world’s largest auto market, where its 6.9 per cent share this year through August trails leader Volkswagen AG’s 13 per cent.
“We want to provide a car that is in reach of working people,” Funo said in Tokyo. Unlike Nissan Motor Co’s March and Micra compacts designed for both developed and emerging markets, Toyota’s low-cost car will target “a newly emerging middle class” in developing countries, Funo said.
The Toyota City, Japan-based auto maker rose 0.4 per cent to close at ¥2,975 on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. The stock has declined 23 per cent in 2010.
In India, the car will be called the Etios and go on sale in December. A 5-door hatchback version may be priced at about '450,000 ($10,070), while the sedan version may cost an additional '80,000, said Deepesh Rathore, managing director of IHS Global Insight India.
Toyota’s Corolla is sold in 52 countries, and cumulative global sales have reached more than 36 million vehicles in the 44 years since its introduction, according to the company.
While pricing the new, cheaper car in the range of competitors’ low-cost models, Toyota won’t necessarily undercut rivals, rather providing “additional value” with car quality, Funo said.