Toyota Kirloskar India is following a twin pronged strategy for the Etios sedan and the Liva hatchback. The Japanese car maker is upping the ante when it comes to the exports of the Etios twins. Apart from exporting the Etios twins to South Africa, Toyota has plans of boosting exports to a range of other African countries. In fact, the car maker has already begun exporting the Etios twins to Zimbabwe and Mauritius. In the coming months, expect more African countries to see the Etios and Liva. The Etios platform was developed as a car platform meant to spawn out low cost cars for emerging car markets.
While Toyota might have got the “low cost” pricing right, right from the word go, the car maker has come under some severe criticism by many car buyers unsatisfied by the quality of interiors on the Etios twins. Toyota is known for its close connect with the car buyer. So, the car maker has come up with revamped versions of the Etios sedan and the Liva hatchback. The revamped cars come with a host of new features and much better quality interiors. However, the design of the car continues to remain staid when compared to the more contemporary looking competition.
However, looks have never been the strong suits of Toyota and this common thread runs across the Etios twins as well. However, the Etios twins embody the traditional Toyota traits of low maintenance costs and high reliability. These presence of these traits on the Etios twins has meant that these cars are moderate successes for Toyota in India. Both the Etios and Liva come with petrol and turbo diesel engine options. Days ago, Toyota added a 1.5 Liter petrol engine to the Liva hatchback range, in keeping with the TRD Sportivo edition’s sporty positioning.
Toyota is trying to connect with the younger car buyers in India by launching a high voltage advertising campaign with cricketer and youth icon Virat Kohli at the forefront. Toyota also organized the recently concluded University Cricket Challenger. The car maker has used the Etios sedan to come up with a one-make racing series to foster motorsport talent in the country. All these measures are expected to pay off in the coming years as Toyota seeks to reposition itself as a youthful brand. While at it, we hope they also change their bland and boring design language. That, in our opinion, would do much more to Toyota’s appeal than any marketing/branding exercise.