Japanese carmaker Toyota failed to impress Indian buyers with its pioneering Prius but learned a tough lesson that the buyers will love its hybrids as long as the price is right.
• Toyota is gearing to launch its affordable hybrid Urban Cruiser Hyryder
• Toyota will make its hybrids in India to cut the manufacturing cost
• It will partner with Suzuki Motor to develop low-cost mild hybrid technology
Why Was Prius Failed?
Prius, the hybrid version of the Camry sedan, was launched in India in 2013, but the car failed to attract the attention of buyers partly due to its price tag. Its price was more than eight times the annual income of a middle-class family. Toyota discontinued Prius after struggling hard to increase its sales.
Which Is The Upcoming Hybrid Of Toyota?
The Urban Cruiser Hyryder, a compact sports-utility vehicle (SUV), will be its first new hybrid to hit Indian roads. It will put Toyota in a comfortable position against popular midsize combustion-engine SUVs made by Hyundai Motor and Kia Motor which dominate the Indian auto market with 18% of car sales. The Indian auto market is the fourth-biggest auto market.
The full hybrid Hyryder will be 31% more fuel efficient than the Hyundai and Kia diesel models that offer an economy of 25 kmpl. Also, Toyota is collaborating with Suzuki to get its hybrid system Suzuki developed for subcompact cars, or one size smaller. Hyryder will be sold by Toyota and Suzuki. In 2023, Toyota will launch its next hybrid which will be a multi-purpose vehicle or people-carrier.
How Will Toyota Reduce The Cost Of Its Hyryder?
Toyota is working on two fronts to bring the cost of its hybrid down. First, it is turning indigenous for technology which it has tied up with Suzuki which is the biggest carmaker in India. Second, it is lobbying up to get the taxes reduced. Presently India levies taxes of 43% on hybrids which is on par with diesel-driven SUVs and far higher than the 5% tax on EVs. But it has yet to receive a positive response from the government.