The world's most profitable automaker, Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corp says that it is looking at launching a small car within two years, with the first production facility likely to be located in India.
Fujio Cho, chairman, Toyota Motors, told reporters on the sidelines of the Indo-Japan business conference attended by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, "We are thinking of several countries but maybe first production will be here."
Toyota, running neck and neck with General Motors to claim the mantle of the world's largest automaker after having moved ahead of Ford Motor Co, is developing a low-cost car that it expects to sell in emerging and, possibly, the more developed markets.
Toyota is said to be weighing its options between India and Brazil for locating the small car project. Toyota is reported to be toying with the idea of building a new plant with a 1000,000- vehicle per annum capacity near its existing 60,000-vehicle capacity plant near Bangalore.
Cho said, "We have plenty of room in Bangalore facility. If we build new plant, we will build in current facility," he said. Toyota owns 430 acres of land at the site
Toyota sold 48,000 vehicles in India in 2006.
Spurred by Tata Motors determination to build a small car priced at about Rs1 lakh by the second half of 2008, has attracted other automakers like French car maker Renault, which despite making the no-frills Logan sedan with Mahindra & Mahindra, has initiated talks with Bajaj Auto Ltd to make a "very competitive vehicles" in India.
Annual passenger vehicle sales in India are forecast to nearly double to 2 million units by 2010, with over two-thirds of the market expected to be accounted for by small cars.