Is Toyota''s 15-per cent market share by 2015 achievable?

CamryToyota Kirloskar, the Indian subsidiary of Japanese auto major Toyota Motor Company recently announced a target of achieving a 15-per cent market share of the Indian passenger car market by 2015 and 10 pc share by 2010.

Atsushi Toyoshima, managing director of Toyota Kirloskar Motor recently told the press in Bangalore, "If the Indian market keeps growing at an average pace of 15 per cent annually, it will be a four-million unit market by 2015 and we would want to be selling 15 per cent, or 600,000 cars by that time."

So far Toyota has lunched mid-sized cars in India, which despite becoming bestsellers in their respective segments hardly bring in the numbers needed to achieve the target the company has set for itself. Toyota sold approximately 41,000 cars in 2005 and has a 4-per cent market share in India.

With such numbers under its belt in a market growing at 20 per cent annually and with immense potential, Toyoshima's words seem to ring hollow.

It would be an understatement to say that Toyota has kept a low profile in India; for an auto company that leads in virtually every region in the world its progress in India has been unremarkable. Its leadership status in various segments is by virtue of the fact that it does not have serious competition in India yet.

The most glaring example is the recent launch of the Honda Civic in July, which immediately ate into Toyota Corolla's sales leading Toyota to launch a host of promotional offers on the Corolla.

Toyota has so far invested around Rs1,200 crore in its Indian venture. While the company has time and again announced small car launch plans there is as yet no clarity on the project. The company is said to be conducting extensive feasibility studies to determine the ideal vehicle suited not just for the Indian market, but also for other BRIC countries such as Brazil, Russia and China. In that sense it is mulling developing a single platform for the small car venture and churn out more than one type of car from this platform for the BRIC markets.