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Toyota drives in Landcruiser Prado

20-November-2004
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Toyota drives in Landcruiser Prado

Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) launched its premium SUV, the Landcruiser Prado on Friday.

The vehicle will have an ex-showroom Mumbai price of Rs 35.85 lakh, Mr K.K. Swamy, Deputy Managing Director, TKM, said at a press briefing attended by Mr Vikram Kirloskar, Vice-Chairman, as well.

The SUVs are being imported from Japan through Mumbai. Consequently the ex-showroom price for Delhi would be higher at Rs 37.5 lakh, Central sales tax and local taxes added.

TKM hopes to sell 200 units of the SUV in the first year. "It is a conservative estimate," Mr Swamy said.

The Landcruiser Prado is equipped with a 4-litre engine capable of 235 hp making it the country's most powerful SUV, ahead of other Japanese imports such as the 136-hp Nissan X-Trail and the 118-hp Mitsubishi Pajero.

Bookings for the SUV will be accepted at Toyota dealerships from November 20 and deliveries commence from December 17.

When asked why Toyota was not countering Honda's CRV with its RAV-4, officials said that the premium SUV segment had grown strongly. Against 1,450 units sold for the whole of 2003, in 2004 the last nine months alone had returned industry figures of 3,750 units, a growth of 225 per cent.

"For calendar 2004, we estimate overall sales at 4,700 units," Mr B. Ashish Kumar, Deputy General Manager (Marketing Department), TKM, said.

That aside, it is learnt, Toyota had a unique reason for itself bringing in the Landcruiser Prado. The SUV tops Toyota imports into India and the grey market was complicating things by pushing in dated products as new ones. Landcruiser will make debut here as a petrol engine vehicle. The diesel version will be introduced based on market feedback.

Globally, Landcruiser Prado sales average 1,00,000 units, with Europe accounting for 40 per cent. However, the premium SUV's Indian debut by no means implies that TKM is close to hosting the Lexus range.

"We are not ready yet for the Lexus brand," Mr Kirloskar said pointing to the level of dealer quality and service required for hosting Toyota's luxury cars. TKM is spending Rs 150 crore to increase its vehicle production capacity from 45,000 units to 60,000 units per annum.

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