Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM), the Indian subsidiary of Japanese car-maker Toyota, had showcased its soon-to-be-launched sedan Yaris at the recently concluded Auto Expo 2018. The sedan is set to compete against the likes of Honda City and Maruti Suzuki Ciaz, and its price is rumored to undercut both the rivals.
This has sparked some reports that Toyota may discontinue the slow-selling Etios series (Etios sedan and Liva hatchback) once Yaris enters the market later this year. It looks like Toyota has no plans to pull the plug on the Etios series as it plans to launch the regular facelifts and new versions of the sedan and hatchback siblings.
"As far as the Etios and the Liva are concerned, I think the normal facelift and minor models changes will keep on happening," ET Auto quoted Shekar Viswanathan, vice-chairman - External Affairs, TKM, as saying.
He did not hold back to the fact that the Etios didn't perform well in India as envisioned. "Frankly, we expected to do much better with the Etios and the Liva. The fact that the product did not do well is not because of the product being faulty or any of that kind. I think the product is still good in terms of reliability and quality but it is a crowded segment," he added.
The Etios series, specifically tailored for India, was launched in 2010. However, it failed to replicate the huge success story of Toyota's Innova and Fortuner. The sales are decent but it is nowhere near the competition. In addition, the increased demand from the fleet sector is also keeping private buyers away from the Etios series.
After the launch of the Etios sedan in 2010 and Liva hatchback in 2011, the series got the first facelift in 2014 and the second one in 2016. Now, the incoming facelift is expected to pack a sportier design, more features, and equipment.
For now, TKM's focus will be on the launch of Yaris. The stylish sedan will be powered by a 1.5-liter Dual VVT-i petrol engine with the options of a seven-speed continuously variable transmission (CVT) and a six-speed manual transmission. A diesel mill is currently under development and will join the range later.