From the Viewsroom

Toyota, Maruti show the way

Murali Gopalan | Updated on March 08, 2018


India’s engineering skills come to the fore

It was a proud moment for the Toyota team in India when the Etios and its hatchback sibling, Liva, were launched last week.

It would be fair to ask what was so unique, especially when these models have not set sales charts afire since their launch six years ago. Well, this is the first time for Toyota that a country without a technical centre carried out major engineering changes in a model. Clearly, it was an acknowledgement of the India team’s competence.

Thailand houses Toyota’s technical centre in the Asia-Pacific and, going forward, India will play a far more active role in product development initiatives. Who knows, the future may even see more leaders emerging from the subcontinent and playing key roles at Toyota.

All this augurs well for the country’s cerebral base in the automotive arena with the Etios being the latest addition to the list of achievements. Similarly, Suzuki’s Vitara Brezza was designed and developed from scratch in India and its huge success in the market is a tribute to Maruti’s engineers. Local competence also made the Renault Kwid a reality which, like the Brezza, is growing from strength to strength. The French carmaker was quick to realise after its Logan experience that it was important to think local before going global. The Kwid is an important part of this drive as it heads out to Brazil shortly.

It was Ratan Tata who first threw down the gauntlet nearly 20 years ago with the made-in-India hatchback, Indica. A decade later, he got the attention of the world with the Nano. Neither product was a top-seller but the Tata chairman conclusively proved that India was the best bet for frugal engineering. Mahindra, likewise, displayed that with the Scorpio 15 years ago. The team at Toyota is the latest to join the hall of fame.

Murali Gopalan Senior Deputy Editor

Published on September 18, 2016

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