Toyota charts a new course in India with its first mainstream hybrid car

The Toyota logo is seen on its stand during a media day for the Auto Shanghai show in Shanghai, China April 19, 2021. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo/File Photo

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NEW DELHI, July 1 (Reuters) – Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) on Friday unveiled its first mainstream hybrid car for India, a sports utility vehicle (SUV), charting a new path for the Japanese automaker in the one of the fastest growing automotive markets.

The Urban Cruiser Hyryder SUV, the first car built by Toyota under a global alliance with Suzuki Motor Corp (7269.T), will compete with Hyundai Motor Co (005380.KS) and Kia Motor Corp (000270.KS) ) in a segment that accounts for a large portion of India’s auto sales.

The new model will be an “ultimate game-changer” for the company in the Indian electrified automotive space, said Vikram Kirloskar, Vice President of Toyota Kirloskar Motor Local Unit, at a launch event in New Delhi. .

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It also reinforces Toyota’s decision to go the hybrid route in developing markets like India, where it says the infrastructure is not ready for battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and much electricity is generated from coal or other fossil fuels. Read more

While green investors have criticized the automaker for being slow to shift its product line to all-electric vehicles, Toyota remains convinced that hybrids make more sense in markets where it needs to offer a variety of choices depending on the mix. energy and local needs.

India wants automakers to build more electric models, but so far adoption of such vehicles has been slow, with only Tata Motors (TAMO.NS) building them locally. India’s biggest automaker Maruti Suzuki (MRTI.NS) said it would not launch an all-electric vehicle until 2025.

In India, Toyota offers a powerful hybrid powertrain in its top models like the Camry sedan and Vellfire. This is the first time it will offer the technology in a mass-segment car where only petrol and diesel models are currently sold.

The new SUV is expected to be 40% to 50% more fuel efficient than a comparable gasoline-powered car and cut carbon emissions by 30%, Toyota said. Around 90% of the car’s parts are sourced from local suppliers – a move that will help him price the car competitively when it goes on sale later this year. Read more

Toyota’s biggest pricing challenge, however, will come from the high taxes the Indian government levies on hybrid cars, between 28% and 43% compared to 5% on all-electric cars.

The SUV, which will be manufactured at a Toyota plant in the southern state of Karnataka, will be sold in India and other global markets, including Africa. Suzuki will also take the SUV from Toyota’s operation in southern India and sell it under its own brand. Read more

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Reporting by Aditi Shah; Editing by Tom Hogue and Jonathan Oatis

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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