Toyota's Lexus – the dream for many luxury car aspirants in India – is finally coming to the country. Toyota Kirloskar Motor Co on Monday confirmed its plan, announced last year, to import fully-built Lexus cars. However, there is no word on when exactly they will be available to buyers.
A late starter, Toyota's Lexus will have to do some catching up with current luxury car market leader BMW and its closest rival Mercedes Benz. With a 22 per cent increase in luxury car sales reported for the domestic market for the financial year that ended in March, both the German manufacturers have announced expansion plans in India.
Toyota Kirloskar managing director Hiroshi Nakagawa has also not specified which of the Lexus models will be imported. In India, the company is so far mostly known for its Qualis and Innova utility vehicles, which have both proved popular. However, many individually imported Lexus cars are on Indian roads.
Internationally, however, the company has a large range of products, from the HS 250h – which debuted at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show and will become the first Lexus dedicated hybrid luxury model – to the Lexus LX470 sport utility vehicle, which became the LX570 for the 2008 model year, and the luxury saloon Champaign Lexus LS 460.
Covering all bets
Toyota India is also set to launch a small car, which it plans to launch by late next year. The car would be powered with either 1.2-Litre or 1.3-Litre engine and be available in both petrol and diesel versions, with a further choice between sedan and hatchback.
The company had cut down its production to 3500 units per month last November; but encouraged by the recent upturn, it now intends to produce 3800 units in May 2009 and gradually increase this to 5000 units by July this year.
The company is also planning to double its dealership in India from the existing 82 dealers in next two years to push its small car, apart from a CNG variant of the Innova.