Toyota Kirloskar Motor, the Indian arm of the Japanese carmaker, had introduced the Toyota Yaris, starting at a price-tag of Rs 875,000 (ex-showroom India) on April 25. The sedan enters a very competitive section of the market, which is already swarming with established players of the likes of the Honda City and the Hyundai Verna.
While Toyota is a late entrant to what is a 200,000 unit segment annually in the growing PV space which clocked 298,504 units in April 2018 (+7.50%), the Yaris, however, does bring in some USPs, one of which is the prime focus on safety – the sedan offers 7 airbags as standard across all its trims. The Toyota Yaris also features all around disc brakes and Isofix child seat anchorage for enhanced braking and ensuring supreme occupant safety.
In the segment where OEMs typically offer sunroof and LED lamps as contemporary features to lure buyers, the Yaris targets a more conservative set of customers, who are primarily looking for an extremely safe family sedan, backed by good engineering and the assurance of Toyota's fuss-free ownership experience.
According to N Raja, deputy managing director, Toyota Kirloskar Motor, “The Yaris will cater to the new demands of the customers and match their discerning needs. The segment is equally competitive and we understand that customer demands are changing with them being exposed to more global products lately.”
“The C-segment space is growing and we aim to expand the market and get the fair share that Toyota deserves. We are not primarily looking at big sales numbers,” he added.
Petrol power only
While the competition offers a choice of a petrol as well as diesel motors, the Yaris makes do with only a 1.5-litre petrol offering, but with the option of a manual as well as a CVT drivetrain across all its trims. Given that automatics are considered as premium offerings and generally placed in the top-end trims, this grade line-up is new to any segment in the PV space in India.
“Petrol dominates big in the C-segment, contributing to over 70 percent of the sales, and since we are coming in late, we have done elaborative market research and decided to only stick to a petrol offering. So, a diesel engine option is not on the cards as of now,” added Raja.
Toyota Kirloskar Motor started production of the Yaris at its facility in Karnataka, on the outskirts of Bangalore in April. While it manufactured 1,962 units in last month, the total dealer despatches stood at 1,585 units, with the company expecting to cross the first 1,000 deliveries today. The company has received over 60,000 customer enquiries for the Yaris until now.
The Yaris’ arch rival Honda City averages sales around 4,000 a month. The just-launched Toyota model has a similar target.