Toyota to Invest INR 1,650 Crores for Increasing Localisation, Capacity

Toyota recently announced that they would be making an investment of INR 1,650 crores for increasing their production capacity in their Indian operations to 1 lakh vehicles per annum. They also plan on increasing local components in their vehicles by 2014.

Toyota, present in India through their JV with Kirloskar Group, will make an investment to the tune of INR 898 crores for expanding their production capacity in their existing two facilities in India by 2013. Another group company will also invest an additional INR 750 crores for opening machining and aluminium casting lines by 2014.

According to a statement released by the company, the company plans to increase their production capacity to about 3,10,000 vehicles per annum by 2013. This expansion will be possible with the investment of INR 898 crores approx. and will also generate new opportunities of employment.

The company is presently expanding their capacity in their plants in Bangalore from the current 1.5 lakh vehicles to 2.1 lakh vehicles by 2012. The first facility will produce the MPV, the Innova and the SUV Fortuner. Their second plant will produce the Corolla Altis and Etios sedans, and their Liva hatchback.

The MD of the company, Hiroshi Nakagawa, was quoted as saying that to keep with the increasing demand for their vehicles, they have decided on further increasing their production in India. The demand for their Etios Liva and Etios has been quite encouraging, and they are gearing to cater a higher number of customers.

Last month, the company made the decision of launching their small car Liva in India, which has so far got 4,000 bookings. Their Etios sedan that was launched back in December 2011, also received a great response, forcing Toyota to increase their capacity earlier than they had planned.

The company also said that they would be increasing the use of local components in the Liva and Etios, with their auto parts company planning on commissioning and installing machining and aluminum casting lines by 2014. It added that this installation will witness a further investment to the tune of INR 750 crores, and also bring in new opportunities of employment.

The lines will be installed in the company’s new Liva and Etios engine plant that is scheduled to begin operations in 2012’s third quarter. The company had earlier made an announcement of opening an engine facility and increasing their production capapcity for transmissions so as to cater to the increased demand for their Liva and Etios models, with a total investment of INR 500 crores.

In addition to this, the company will also begin manufacturing transmissions for the Liva and Etios in 2013. They are also planning on exporting these gears to overseas markets. The chairman of the company, Vikram Kirloskar stated that the Etios Liva and Etios are designed to specifically suit the Indian auto market. It is vital to have a localisation project for providing the best quality vehicle at an economical price.

Toyota Showcases New Features to Help Prevent Car Crashes

Among the most important features that the car has to offer, are probably its safety features, especially in the western auto markets, where safety features become crucial points when heading out to buy a car.

One such feature which many manufacturers have been showcasing of late is a crash avoidance technology, showcased recently by Swedish auto manufacturer, Volvo. Recently, the largest car manufacturer in the world, Toyota showcased a few of their new features and technologies that will be available in their cars.

While the company did not reveal much on these technologies, they showcased a new system, which is said to use both rear and front view cameras in combination with a wave radar tech for detecting obstacles and pedestrians the could result in an accident.

However the notable aspect of this system is not detecting in case of possible collision, but rather what it does after such detection. Upon detection, the system takes over control of the steering wheel for avoiding it, instead of just stopping the car, like most other systems.

The company is working on other features like a pop-up hood, which would be able to provide addition protection during a crash, and a steering wheel, which will be able to measure the heartbeat of the driver and prevent a crash, in case the driver has a heart attack. However there is no official word from the company, as to when these products will be available in their models.

Toyota to Merge Car Manufacturing Units in Japan for Increasing Efficiency and Reducing Costs

Toyota recently announced that they would be combining their car manufacturing facilities in the northern part of Japan for boosting their efficiency. The biggest auto giant and its subsidiaries in Japan, Kanto Works and Toyota Auto Body Co., have agreed for converting two of their units into fully owned subsidiaries by exchanging shares next year in January.

Toyota will reportedly pay 0.25 share for each of Kanto Auto’s and 0.45 share for that of Toyota Auto Body’s. It may also integrate these units with other two units by July 2012. The company, which built around 43% of their models in the island of Japan in 2010, compared with both Nissan and Honda’s below 30%, aims to increase profitability of their operations in Japan.

The rising yen has reduced the value of their repatriated profits from their export markets. Central Motor Company, Toyota Motor Tohoku Corporation and Kanto Auto will start discussions by July next year for integrating into Toyota Motors. The Japanese auto giant has three different production centres in Japan, which include Aichi prefecture also their headquarters, northern Japan and Kyushu located in the southern part of Japan.

The company has reportedly stated that the merging of their car manufacturing units in the northern part of Japan will in no way affect jobs. They will halt some of their older factory lines, however the timing, or how many of them will be closed in not yet clear at the moment.

They are pushing this merger for maintaining their three output units in Japan. The president of the company, Akio Toyoda, said that the manufacturing condition in Japan is difficult right now; however they have decided to do whatever they can for securing their future. They are trying hard to protect the manufacturing business in Japan.

Toyota Plans to Sell About 100,000 Etios Models in 2012

Toyota has announced that they expect to sell above 100,000 Etios sedan, hatchbacks in the next year. The company also announced that they want to increase their production capacity per year to 210,000 models in India by mid 2012, from the current 150,000 vehicles, to meet the increasing demand for their just launched Etios sedan.

The total investment that the company plans to make for increasing the production capacity at their plants is around 4.9bn yen or $60.9mn, according to Toyota. The company currently has production capacity totaling 150,000 models per year, and roll out brands like the Etios, Fortuner, Innova and Corrolla Alits in India.

On Monday, the company launched their much delayed Liva hatchback at a starting price of INR 3.99 lakhs, with a total of 5 variants to choose from.

Toyota Expects US Supplies of Prius to Pick Up by 70% in June

Toyota Motors was one of the many Japanese auto companies, which had to shut down production after facing shortage of component supplies, because of the earthquake and tsunami which struck Japan in March. According to recent reports, the company said that the supplies for their popular Hybrid Prius will pick up by 70% of its normal level by the next month.

According to the Group VP of Toyota’s US SalesThe US unit of the Japanese auto company will reportedly receive around 36,000 Prius models for June, July and August sales or around 12,000 models a month. This figure is expected to increase if the Japanese production recovers at a greater pace. The following three months could see supplies 60 to 70% of their normal levels, though according to Bob Carter, this is a huge improvement.

With increasing supply, the auto manufacturer would be able to take greater advantage of the rising demand in the market for electric-gasoline models in the midst of increasing fuel prices. Toyota had earlier stated early in the year that could set a sales record in the US for their Prius model, before the earthquake and tsunami struck Japan, damaging power plants and part factories, interrupting the production of auto, so that dealers in the US were left with hardly any inventory, if at all.

According to reports, there were also mentions that the sales of the Prius would decline this month in the US, in comparision to sales a year before in the corresponding period, due to shortage of auto parts. Carter said that if they had twice the number of Prius models than before, they would easily be selling twice the models. The company is trying to provide cars to those who want them; however, it will take some time before this happens.

Toyota to Lose its Largest Car Maker Position to GM

Toyota Motors, the largest auto company in the world, is taking hit after hit with the company soon looking at losing their reputation because of a two-third drop in production rate in March because of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami. This is because of the fact that they are facing a shortage of mostly resin-based and electronic parts.

Toyota had already stated that they would take till the year end before they could fully recover their normal production output. The company reportedly saw a fall in domestic production to 129,491 units, almost 62.7 %, while the No.2 auto company in Japan, Nissan, said that their corresponding figures decreased by 47,590 units to 52.4 %. Honda, another Japan auto giant also said that they saw their domestic production shrink by 34,754 vehicles to 62.9 %.

According to recent reports, Toyota is currently almost certain about losing their ranking as top producer, which they have held from 2008, to GM this year. Toyota managed to sell 8.42mn vehicles last year, topping the sales of GM which were 8.39mn. Experts project that GM is likely to produce more than 8mn vehicles, and VW will manufacture around 7mn, so it is likely, that Toyota will not just lose its top position, but also be third, with GM coming in at first place.

Toyota’s sub-index of transport equipment had reportedly bounced by 14 % from its post-quake low, however it is still 6 % from where it stood before the earthquake struck Japan. In contrast, though, South Korea based Hyundai Motors surged by over 30 % in the same period last week, hitting a record high on expectations that the company would benefit from the problems of their Japanese rivals.

Auto industry opens shutters in Japan

The tremors from the earthquake that happened in Japan and the subsequent destruction that followed is something which many wouldn’t forget for the rest of their lives. However, as they say, life has to move on and so some of the major Japanese automobile sector players have taken a cue from this and have reopened their manufacturing plants. The plants would start off being partially open and then later on move onto full fledged production.  The companies that would restart their operations are Nissan, Toyota and Mitsubishi. It was reported in our column that many of the Japanese automobile companies have stopped or suspended their operations until further notice. Toyota was the first to send a batch of evaluators to their facilities to check out how much damage was done to their property. It was only after the evaluators confirmed that not much damage has occurred did Toyota give the go ahead to starting the plant again.

However majority of Toyota and Nissan factories would remain closed until the issue regarding the radiations from the nuclear plants is solved. Mitsubishi Motors on the other hand have confidently got all their plants up and running. In the meanwhile Mazda and Honda plants would remain closed until further notice. It seems that Honda have got some major setbacks from the natural disasters which happened recently. A positive thing is that many manufacturers would now be forced to think about their international production strategies.

Toyota on tops at the TNS dealer satisfaction survey

While the Maruti Alto topped the customer satisfaction survey last month, it is now the turn of the world’s largest car manufacturing unit, Toyota Motors Corporation. Toyota have once again topped the dealer satisfaction survey at the TNS Automotive Syndicated Dealer Satisfaction Study, which was revealed recently. This study was conducted across the length of India and included car dealers from the Tier 1,2 and 3 towns with almost all of the leading manufacturers included.

With Toyota on tops, it was left to other manufacturers to claim the stakes for the other spots. It was Korean manufacturer Hyundai which managed to get a hold of the second spot. Hyundai was ranked 4th when the survey was last conducted in 2008. In 2008, the dealer scores also increased for all the companies which participated in this survey. Mahindra and Mahindra as also Maruti Suzuki were tied up for the third place. Ford, Honda and Skoda shared the 4th place. GM, Tata and Fiat were amongst the ones which were left at the bottom of the heap. This study also included the dealer profitability quotient and here also Toyota and Hyundai shared the spoils. This study actually helps manufacturers understand their dealers better. Dealers wanted better support from the manufacturer in solving problems related to OEM fitted goods. Most of the customers were dissatisfied with the dealers for this same problem.

Toyota Liva launch postponed

In a sudden twist of events, the world’s number one car maker, Toyota Motor Holdings has decided to postpone the launch of the Toyota Liva in India. Its Indian subsidiary, Toyota Kirloskar Motors (TKM) recently announced this decision.

It is said that the company first plans to ramp up the production of the Toyota Etios sedan whose waiting periods run into approximately 6 months. It may be recalled (no pun intended) earlier that TKM was eager to launch the Toyota Liva earlier than scheduled to cut some waiting period lists off the Toyota Etios. Toyota were supposed to launch the Toyota Liva in April by sanctioning a second shift in their facility. As of now, the proposed second shift would be utilized for bringing in customer retention by getting more models of the Etios rolling out fast. The saving grace is that the Etios’s arch rival, the Maruti Swift Dzire has got equally appalling waiting periods. The Toyota Liva would now be launched by June of this year.

Several dealers had reported that customers are no longer willing to wait and many have actually canceled their bookings. It is said that some of the dealers had to face more han 60% booking cancellations. As of now, a separate facility has been created for rolling out the Etios sedan and this facility produces about 70,000 cars per annum. As of now, Toyota have offered the Etios with only a 1.5 liter petrol option but talks are on to launch the car with a diesel motor towards the later half of 2011. This diesel motor would be plucked from under the hood of the Toyota Corolla Altis diesel. The Toyota Liva in the meanwhile will start off with a 1.2 liter petrol engine and the same diesel engine from the Corolla Altis. In a bid to spruce up things and to lay its claims to being one of the hot hatches in India, the Liva may also be offered later on with the 1.5 liter petrol engine from the Etios sedan. The only bone of contention here is that if waiting periods for the Etios are so much, then how much would be the waiting periods for the Liva? Over to you Toyota.