Toyota denies plan for Indian cheapie

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IOL mot pic may24 Indian Etios REUTERS An Indian-market Toyota Etios on display in New Delhi. Even at the equivalent of R80 000 the Etios is regarded as expensive for an entry-level car in India.

More than 400 years ago Shakespeare had one of his characters say, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks”, and that quotation springs to kind in the light of Toyota's all-too-vigorous denials of reports that it is planning to introduce ultra-cheap cars to the Indian market.

The Asahi Shimbun said earlier on Thursday that Toyota was planning to release a range of cars priced at about 330 000 rupees (R50 000), presumably in an attempt to cash in on the market created by Ratan Tata's controversial Nano.

“There are no such plans,” insisted Toyota.

The Japanese daily said, without citing sources, that the company would create a new brand for the cut-price vehicle to try to avoid devaluing the Toyota name, and was planning to release its first model in 2016.

Toyota's entry-level Etios, just released in South Africa at prices starting from R115 800, has been on sale in India since 2010 at about 550 000 rupees (R80 000), but that's still expensive compared to the Nano, which now retails for about 160 000 rupees (R24 000).

Toyota has said it wants to grow its sales in emerging markets from 40 percent of its global total to 50 percent, and it seems logical that one way to do this, particularly in a huge market such as India, would be by introducing low-price entry-level vehicles. - IOL Motoring, AFP

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