Just when auto analysts were forecasting the imminent
demise of the Toyota''s multi utility vehicle Qualis, the
company has obliged them by announcing that the vehicle
would be phased out, in favour of a new vehicle.
Till date no automaker, not even Maruti Udyog Ltd, has
ever wqithdrawn a popular product, barring Honda Motors.
When Honda withdrew the popular Honda City, it was only
to replace it with a newer version of the same brand.
For Honda, the strategy paid off; sales of the new City
are close to doubling up.
Kirloskar Motor has announced that its best-selling model,
the Qualis, a favourite of private tourist taxi operators
because of its spacious interiors, will be replaced by
the Toyota Innova, built on the international motor vehicle
(IMV) platform, combining the characteristics of an MPV
with that of a passenger car.
The Innova, launched in Indonesia last year, will be launched
in India by the end of February 2005 and is expected to
cost between Rs7 lakh and Rs8 lakh.
The sales of the Qualis, in recent times have been falling
and its market share had declined from 40 per cent in
the MPV segment in 2001 to 32 per cent in 2003. Despite
this, the Qualis remained the largest selling MPV in the
since its launch in 2000, a record 1.4 lakh Qualis vehicles
have been sold. In 2004, Qualis sold 36,700 units and
in December, when the company discontinued its production,
sales reached 4,000 units, the highest ever in any single
month, till date.
According to A. Toyoshima, managing director, Toyota Kirloskar
Motor, "The Qualis has been our mainstay in India
for the past five years. It has provided the perfect platform
for Toyota in this country, but we feel it is time to
bring in newer products that will provide better value
to the customer."
the boxy appearance, the sales of the vehicle have been
drive solely on its performance. Its success led other
automakers to realise the potential of the MPV segment
in the Indian market and rivals like the Tata Sumo, the
Mahindra Bolero and the Scorpio soon followed. These later
entrants, however, had a hard time catching up with the
popularity of Qualis, the market leader.
It is only recently that the GM Tavera and M&M''s Scorpio
have considerably eroded the market share of the Qualis.
Had Toyota Kirloskar
continued with the Qualis, it is speulated, the new crossover
vehicles like the Hyundai Getz, Ford Fusion and the upcoming
Suzuki Swift could have further eroded its market share.