Toyota expands SUV play with Urban Cruiser Taisor

Toyota expects overall robust sales to continue

Urban Cruiser Taisor Urban Cruiser Taisor

India's passenger vehicle (PV) industry had a bumber 2023-24 financial year, with wholesales toping 42 lakh units for the first time. Sports utility vehicles are among the top driver of this demand, accounting for almost half of total PV sales. Not surprisingly then, most auto makers are targeting this segment.

Toyota Kirloskar Motor on Wednesday launched the new Urban Cruiser Taisor compact SUV in the country. The Taisor is essentially based on Maruti Suzuki's Fronx, and gets some cosmetic changes for the differentiation between the two.

The Taisor will come with two engine options. Prices for the 1.2 litre petrol engine model start at Rs 7.73 lakh ex-showroom, topping off at Rs 9.52 lakh. On the other hand, the model with the 1.0 litre turbo petrol engine will be available in the Rs 10.55 lakh to Rs 13.03 lakh range. A CNG option will also be available.

Bookings for the Taisor open from Wednesday and deliveries are set to begin from May this year.

Toyota already sells several SUVs and MUVs in the country. These include the Innova Crysta and Hycross, the Urban Cruiser Hyryder, Fortuner, Camry, Hilux and Vellfire.

The company had its best ever year in 2023-24, on the back of strong demand for these products. For the full year, Toyota Kirloskar dispatched over 2.63 lakh units, a 48 per cent jump over the 1.77 lakh units it had sold in 2022-23.

The launch of the Urban Cruiser Taisor will help the company re-enter the hot selling compact SUV segment and thus target a larger customer segment.

"This is placed in the A-SUV segment and will be the welcoming model for new customers as well as replacement customer. It will help us in bringing in more customers to Toyota and make them experience the 650 touchpoints we have across the country," said Sabari Manohar, vice-president, sales-service-used car business, Toyota Kirloskar Motor.

With the Taisor, Toyota is expanding the product footprint, through the partnership it has with Suzuki, where the two sell rebadged models in different markets. For instance, Toyota sells the Rumion MPV, which is a rebadged Maruti Suzuki Ertiga, the Urban Cruiser Hyryder is based on Maruti's Grand Vitara and Maruti Suzuki sells the Toyota Innova Hycross-based Invicto MPV.

This partnership has helped Toyota gain market share in India. In February 2024, Toyota Kirloskar had a market share of 5.91 per cent, compared with a share of 4.36 per cent in February 2023, according to data from Federation of Auto Dealers Association.

"The alliance is working well for both the partners. Its a multi-faceted collaboration going beyond sharing of platforms and cross-badging. It also involves key element of learning from each other's strengths and building on that," said Vikram Gulati, country head and executive vice-president, Toyota Kirloskar.

Despite the high base of last year, Gulati expects sales to remain in the fast lane this year too.

"The demand continues to be good and therefore looking forward we are very optimistic about this year as well and we believe its going to be a robust year. Given the fact that our penetration levels for PVs is not exceptionally high, with infrastructure coming up in a very big way, all these factors will help growth trajectory, " he said.

Some of Toyota's products have had a very high waiting period. For instance, the Innova Hycross hybrid has a waiting period of almost a year and the Innova Crysta has a six months waiting.

The company is taking steps to address these challenges. For instance, it has added a third shift at its first plant, which has given it additional capacity of around 33,000 units. It is also setting up a third manufacturing plant in Bidadi, Karnataka. In two years, the company's total capacity is expected to reach 445,000 units per year from 345,000 now.

"It has already started to come down significantly and we are working very hard to make sure that waiting period doesn't remain too long, because it is not a desirable situation we would like to see," said Gulati.

Toyota's strong hybrid products have been received well in the country. Gulati says India will need to adopt multiple sustainable technologies, not just electric but also bio-fuels, given the size of the auto industry and the pace at which it is growing. 


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