Bengaluru: Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) is planning to increase vehicle prices from next month in order to partially offset rise in input costs. The company, which is a joint venture between Japanese auto major Toyota and Kirloskar group, currently sells a range of vehicles from hatchback Etios Liva with price starting at Rs5.49 lakh to luxury SUV Land Cruiser tagged at Rs1.41 crore (ex-showroom Delhi) in the country.
“Challenges in terms of rising input costs have been there. We are holding on to it (price increase) for some time now. Shortly, we will be doing it. It could be even as early as next month," TKM deputy managing director N. Raja said. The company is currently working on the quantum of price hike, he added.
Luxury car makers such as Audi, JLR and Mercedes-Benz have hiked prices ranging between Rs1 lakh to Rs10 lakh from this month to pass on increase in custom duties. When asked about sales growth in the current calendar year, Raja said the industry is expected to grow in the range of 8-9% and TKM growth is also likely to be in that range. He added that the company expects hatchback and sedan segment to grow better this year as compared with last year (2017).
“Last year passenger car sales growth was 3-4%, but this year we expect the sedan and hatch segment to grow by around 6-7% on an average," Raja said. Growth, however, will depend on various factors like interest rates, fuel pricing and monsoon, he added. “Demand generation from rural segment was robust last year...Our expectation is higher side of single digit so 8-9% growth is possible this year," Raja noted.
The company, which sells popular models like Innova and Fortuner, has now lined up a mid-sized sedan Yaris to compete with the likes of Honda City, Hyundai Verna and Maruti Ciaz. “It is quite a competitive segment with industry size of 4 lakh units per annum. I see TKM doing well in this segment. I know we are the late entrants but we have the advantage of having a superior product in terms of technology and features," Raja said.
TKM is focusing on existing Toyota customers to drive sales of Yaris in the highly competitive segment. “Firstly, there are close to 3 lakh Etios customers looking for an upgrade and they are happy with Toyota so it’s a big replacement," Raja said. Secondly, he said, “We have done a market survey. All our Innova and Fortuner customers also own a family sedan. These are the things we are focusing on." Raja, however, admitted that it is not going to be an easy task.
Yaris would come with a 1.5 litre petrol engine mated to a six-speed manual and seven speed automatic transmissions. All the variants of the vehicle will have seven airbags as standard.