Toyota shifting to petrol-only fuel strategy

New Delhi, Apr 29: Japanese car maker Toyota is making a shift to a petrol-only strategy for its non-SUV future vehicles in India. The Yaris sedan, which will be launched next month, will have a petrol only option. This marks a shift from Toyota’s earlier approach where it rolled out both diesel and petrol variants for smaller cars like the Etios sedan and Liva hatchback.
“We have been monitoring this segment for some time now. In the past three years, there has been a rise in customer sales of petrol variants. Traditionally, customers like a diesel engine on bigger vehicles like SUV, MPV as higher torque is required to enjoy and handle bigger cars,” said N Raja, Deputy Managing Director, Toyota Kirloskar Motor, the Indian arm of Toyota.
Indian car buyers have shown an increasing preference for petrol cars and the share of diesel variant in new car sales has fallen to 23 per cent from almost 50 per cent in FY13. The narrowing gap between petrol and diesel prices, an uncertainty around the future treatment and low resale price of diesel cars are apparent reasons for the shift. In case of SUVs, however, the bulk of the sales come from diesel variants.
The Yaris does not have a diesel option globally but the company would have considered one for India had the demand for diesel cars been strong enough. Toyota has made investments of Rs 11 billion in a local diesel engine manufacturing unit that can produce more than 100,000 diesel engines a year. This unit was inaugurated in June 2016. “We will evaluate diesel options in Yaris on the basis of changing customer needs and favorable policy,” said Raja.