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Toyota to begin producing 'Etios' by December



The world’s largest car maker Toyota today said it would begin production of its concept car Etios by December this year and will price it competitively.

“Etios means spirit and principle. This car of ours is targeted at the middle-level managers and young professionals and will be priced competitively,” Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) Managing Director Hiroshi Nakagawa told mediapersons after inaugurating the Toyota Q-World Auto show here.

The company would launch both hatchback and sedan under the Etios series with 1.2 litres and 1.5 litres petrol engines, respectively, he said.

Nakagawa said though the price of the car would be decided before the official launch, its hatch back version would be in the range of Maruti Swift and Ritz, while the sedan version would compete with Tata Manza and Maruti Dezire in the B segment category.

The company, which is present in India through a joint venture with Kirloskar Group, has invested over Rs 3,200 crore to set up its second manufacturing facility in Bangalore for Etios with an initial capacity of 70,000 units per year.

“The manufacturing capacity is spread over 425 acres. Based on customer response after the Etios rolls out, the manufacturing capacity of the plant could be increased to nearly 200,000 units per year,” Nakagawa added.

Etios has been developed by Toyota specifically for the Indian market and would be manufactured to cater first for the domestic demand and would then be exported.

“Most of our cars have been designed for the American and European markets first and then modified for the Indian market. But Etios has been designed specifically for the Indian conditions,” TKM Executive Managing Coordinator Koji Nagata said.

The company has been developing the model for the last four years with the help of over 2,000 engineers from its Indian and Japanese operations. “The preparation for launching the small car is on track. The plan conception, supply to our base and dealer network expansion is going on,” Nagata said.

The Etios is an attractive, high quality and affordable car, he said, adding that a lot of parts are being manufactured locally, which has enabled the company to bring down the price to a competitive level.

When asked about the Indian market, Nagata said it was very important and big for Toyota and it is expected to grow by up to four million units by 2015 in the country. The company plans to expand dealerships to 150 by the end of 2010 from 97 outlets now, he added.