Toyota to unveil concept compact car in India

Japanese car maker Toyota Motor Corporation would unveil the concept model of its compact car for the Indian market next month.

Toyota's Indian unit, Toyota Kirloskar Motor Pvt Ltd (TKM) plans to start production of its much awaited compact car in December next year at its second plant being built here.

The compact car project is Toyota's most ambitious venture in India in its 11-year existence and the company is betting big on this initiative to become a volume player.

"Both hatchback and sedan version of concept vehicle of the compact car will be showcased at Auto Expo (to be held at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi from January 5 to 11)", TKM Deputy Managing Director Sandeep Singh told PTI. "It's a concept vehicle coming from Japan."

"Production will start by December of 2010. First year production plan is 70,000", he said.

TKM is also showcasing its Toyota Prius hybrid car in the biennial event in the national capital and is looking for its launch in the Indian market.

He said Prius is not a volume product and the company is just looking to sell just a few numbers.

"We just want to impress upon the government to give some special concession on duty (for Prius). Otherwise, it does not make sense to pay such a high duty and sell it. It could be very expensive", Singh said.

"But we would like to sell a few numbers. We are impressing upon the government to give some concessions to hybrid vehicle".

He declined to talk about the price tag of Prius in India.

TKM expects to close the current calendar year with sales of 53,000 units, up from 51,800 in 2008, Singh said.

TKM, a joint venture owned 89 per cent by Toyota and 11 per cent by the Kirloskar Group, last month announced that it has crossed four lakh unit retails sales in India since inception.

The company also announced a 50 per cent jump in total sales at 5,650 units in October 2009, compared to the same period last year. The rise in sales figures can be attributed to the excellent response for the Corolla Altis and Innova and introduction of the Fortuner in August 2009, the company said.

Currently, Toyota has 93 dealerships and has firmed up plans to enhance its dealer network to 150 outlets before the launch of its much awaited compact car in early 2011.

Toyota's products in India are Corolla Altis, Innova and Fortuner, manufactured in India, while Camry, Prado and Land Cruiser are imported as Completely Built Units.