Toyota places greater focus on hybrid future in India

Toyota places greater focus on hybrid future in India

 Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) has embarked on a robust hybridisation route in India, with plans to integrate newer segments of cars with hybrid technology and introduce them in the market.

Toyota, one of the world’s largest automakers, is a force to reckon with in the hybrid space, especially at its home base of Japan. In India, since 2010, it has sold 172 units of Prius, while it sold 2,954 units of Camry Hybrid since launch in 2013.

Explaining the company’s hybrid vision for India, TKM Managing Director Akito Tachibana said, “One of the reasons for our existence is ‘problem-solving’ in the market — in terms of safety, environment, and fuel efficiency. We like to offer solutions to address these issues, and focus on better cars, rather than increasing sales volumes.”

It is in this regard that TKM has set its direction towards hybridisation, which it sees as one of the best solutions to combat the said problems. Last week, Toyota debuted its luxury brand Lexus in India, with a hybrid-focused line-up — launching the RX 450h, ES 300h, and LX450d.

With these launches, TKM’s resolve is clear. “Discussions are on to ascertain the type of hybrid cars needed, and the appropriate segments suited for India. While hybrid is very fuel-efficient and low on emissions, its weak point is its high cost, compared with diesel. However, after the introduction of BS VI engines in 2020, the cost difference between the two is expected to shrink, and hybrid would gain better cost-competitiveness,” Tachibana said, elucidating that the Camry Hybrid, with its Rs 30-lakh price, has acceptance among customers with its good fuel economy and low emissions, even as, for an A- or B-segment customer, a hybrid is too expensive.

More hybrid cars

Mentioning that hybrid technology is a big step towards electrification, he hinted that post 2020, more hybrid cars could be expected in India from Toyota’s stable, besides local production. “After the introduction of BS VI, not only higher segments, but also the C-segment has the scope for hybridisation. Gradually, the hybrid line-up could stretch from bigger car segments to smaller (including B-segment),” he said.

Toyota’s hybrid R&D is centralised and happens in Japan. Meanwhile, between January and December 2016, TKM sold 1,34,139 cars in India.

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