File photo of Balaji Narayan, General Manager, Sales Toyota Kirloskar Motor India and Shekar Viswanathan, Vice Chairman & Whole-time Director, Toyota Kirloskar Motor India at the launch of Toyota Innova Crysta in Mumbai. Photo: PTI
In a year marked by a ban on sale of big diesel vehicles in the Delhi region and related uncertainty on such vehicles, automobile major Toyota looks set to sell a record number of its Innova models, mostly diesel driven.
The Innova was relaunched by the Japanese company in May last year under the Crysta brand and has since been on a waiting list, currently at four to six weeks, depending on the variant. Toyota occupies sixth spot in the expanding Indian car market. It sold a record 77,062 units of the Innova during 2012-13.
The volumes had declined since, to 55,242 in 2015-16. However, sales have crossed last year’s total volume in the first nine months of the 2016-17 financial year (April-December), at 60,500 units.
“It (FY17) could probably be a great year for the Innova, with record volumes. The product’s strong DNA has helped retain its popularity among buyers. The addition of automatic transmission created lot of interest,” said N Raja, senior vice-president (sales & marketing) at Toyota’s India subsidiary. The Innova is 56 per cent of the company's sales volume.
Raja said the company continues to get average monthly bookings for over 7,000 Innovas.
At least 95 per cent of the Innova Crysta buyers are buying for personal use. The company is meeting demand from fleet owners primarily from the previous model. Of the 60,500 units sold till date this year, 56,500 were of the Crysta.
The volumes are significant because the company could not sell a single unit of the sports utility vehicle in the large National Capital Region (NCR) market for close to five months of the year.
In December 2015, the Supreme Court imposed a ban on sales of diesel vehicles with an engine capacity of 2,000cc and above in the region, to address pollution.
The ban was lifted in mid-August last year, after the industry agreed to pay a one per cent cess. The NCR is a major market for large diesel SUVs.
Sales started normalising from September onwards but a second setback came from demonetisation (announced in early November 2016) that impacted sentiment and left less cash in the hands of buyers.
Toyota decided to introduce a petrol variant of the Innova Crysta, after the diesel ban. However, 98 per cent of the Crysta volumes are of the diesel variant.