Toyota bets big on the Yaris; can this sedan rival the Honda City?

Murali Gopalan Greater Noida | Updated on February 08, 2018

Toyota’s Yaris concept car at the Auto Expo   -  PTI

Sedan will hit the roads in the coming months

Toyota Kirloskar Motor is betting big on the Yaris sedan, which was unveiled at the Auto Expo here on Wednesday.

The car is expected to debut during the first half of this calendar and be priced aggressively enough to take on Honda City, which is the leader in the premium sedan segment.

The Yaris will be produced at Toyota’s Bengaluru plant, and the focus on localisation will mean a competitive price tag.

Toyota’s most successful brand thus far is the Innova Crysta along with the Fortuner, and it will be hoping for something similar with the Yaris.

The company’s entry-level sedan, Etios, has really not set the sales charts afire though it is popular in parts of the South.

Research for the Yaris kicked off in 2014, following a detailed study of Indian road and traffic conditions.

From Toyota’s point of view, the sheer diversity of the landscape meant that there were a whole lot of inputs to be factored in.

Styling and design

What is equally relevant is that by virtue of being the youngest country in the word with two-thirds of the population under the age of 35, the Yaris would have to really score on its styling and design.

Given that the Innova Crysta is such a successful product, Toyota would ideally like its customer base to opt for the Yaris as the second car in the family. This is where it will have to reckon with serious competition from Honda City, which is growing from strength to strength a good two decades since it was launched.

Toyota will also be hoping that the automatic option will do its bit in wooing potential buyers. Given today’s chaotic traffic conditions, car users are gravitating rapidly towards automatic transmission options. And, with the paranoia of low mileage now a thing of the past, this is now increasingly becoming the rule rather than the exception.

Making up for Etios

The Yaris is a crucial part of the product portfolio for Toyota in India. Since its entry into this market two decades ago, it has had two big successes in the Qualis and Innova. The Etios promised plenty but did not live up to customer expectations. It’s now up to the Yaris to build a strong connect with potential buyers in this intensely competitive market.

Published on February 07, 2018

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