Toyota plots major push in emerging markets

Tenfold jump in compact car sales sought by 2015 on rising wealth


Toyota Motor Corp. said Friday it plans to boost compact car sales tenfold in emerging markets by 2015 by adding seven new models and boosting local production and procurement in countries where rising wages are boosting demand.

The automaker is aiming to sell 1 million small cars a year in countries including India, Indonesia and Thailand by 2015.

The effort to boost sales and production of compact cars in markets where Toyota has focused on pickup trucks and sedans is part of its goal to increase vehicle sales in emerging markets to half the total.

Toyota’s biggest domestic rival, Nissan Motor Co., revived its Datsun brand in March and aims for the low-end cars to account for as much as half its global sales in emerging markets by March 2017.

“Toyota has a long history and strong presence in some emerging markets such as Indonesia and we are aiming to keep our position by raising local procurement and adding capacity,” said Yukitoshi Funo, executive vice president.

Production capacity in emerging markets will be about 3.1 million units in 2013 from about 2.4 million in 2010, Toyota estimates.

The Etios compact has already been introduced in India ,where aggregate sales of the car reached 100,000 as of May 22, Toyota said. The company didn’t name the models it plans to introduce in emerging markets, or give a more specific timetable for their sales.

It was reported Thursday that Toyota plans to sell a ¥500,000 car in India in 2016, using another brand name, and may build a plant to produce the low-cost model. The carmaker said Friday its focus is on models priced higher than the level mentioned in the report.

“The price range of the new compacts will be above the Etios, or from about ¥1 million,” Funo said. “The market of cars priced as low as ¥500,000, including new and used cars, is not for Toyota.”

The Etios compact, which went on sale in India last June, starts at 399,999 rupees (about ¥574,000).

India business summit


Business leaders from Keidanren and their Indian counterparts have discussed ways to expand bilateral trade ties at a first-of-its-kind summit in Tokyo attended by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda.

At the one-day Japan-India Business Summit Thursday, officials from the nation’s largest business lobby and representatives from the Confederation of Indian Industry exchanged views on the economic and investment environment in India, seeking to develop trade in a range of areas, including the infrastructure and services sectors.

“With respect to India’s high rate of economic growth and abundant workforce, Japan possesses technology and experience that can contribute to the further development of its economy,” Noda told the summit, urging corporate chiefs to expand corporate ties.

“There is great potential in the economic relationship between India and Japan,” he said.

Keidanren Chairman Hiromasa Yonekura stressed that infrastructure development is the priority to assist India’s rapid economic expansion, both in terms of products and services, and touted the expertise Japanese companies could bring to the table, one of his officials said.

“The business relationship between Japan and India has been expanding steadily and we’d like to further enhance relations,” Yonekura was quoted as saying by the official during the opening ceremony.

Noda also touched on a number of ongoing bilateral projects in India, including the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor initiative to construct a freight railway and other infrastructure, and called for further private-public sector cooperation.

“If the public and private sectors in Japan and India work together and increase cooperation, that would contribute to peace and prosperity in Asia and boost the global economy,” he declared.