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Toyota to start trial production of Etios in Sept


The world's largest car-maker Toyota today said it will start trial production of its much anticipated small car 'Etios' for the Indian market from next month, three months ahead of its proposed launch.

The Japanese car major, which is present in India through a joint venture with the Kirloskar Group, is investing Rs 3,200 crore to set up its second manufacturing facility in Bangalore to roll out its first small car in India by December.

"Before starting the commercial production in December, we will have two rounds of trial productions. While one will start in September, the next one will be in October," Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) Deputy Managing Director (Commercial) Shekar Viswanathan told PTI.

He, however, declined to comment on how many units the company are planning to produce during the round two of trial productions.

"These cars are not for sales. We will run it on test tracks for quality and all other checks. We may also later dismantle these cars," Viswanathan said.

Over 2,000 engineers from Toyota's Indian and Japanese operations have been working on developing the model for the last four years.

Earlier in January, TKM had unveiled the concept Etios, which is being specifically developed for the Indian market.

The company will launch both hatchback and sedan under the Etios series with 1.2 litre and 1.5 litre petrol engines respectively. However, the firm later said that it would look into opportunities of introducing a diesel variant also.

Last week, Toyota had said that it would study the Indian market to launch a hybrid version of Etios.   

"We are looking at every possible alternative to launch Etios. Apart from diesel and petrol variants, we will study the market and demand for launching the car in other fuel options (LPG and CNG) and hybrid mode," Toyota Motor Asia Pacific President Mitsuhiro Sonoda had said.

TKM had reported over seven per cent growth in its sales in India last year at 55,497 units and is expecting a jump of 15-20 per cent in 2010.

The company is expecting to sell about 65,000 units of the 'Etios' next year out of a target of 1.5 lakh units across all models in India. The company sells sedans Corolla Altis and Camry, SUVs Fortuner and Prado, and utility vehicle Innova in India.