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26.8.09

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Toyota is planning to bring its small car brand Daihatsu in India as part of its expansion drive with launch of new cars
, including an all-new mini car by late 2010.
"We are internally talking to bring Daihatsu in India," Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) Senior MD Akira Okabe told TOI. Okabe, who was here for the launch of Toyota's SUV Fortuner, said the company would, however, look at its run in India before taking any final decision on Daihatsu . "A lot would depend on our performance here." The Osaka-based Daihatsu, owned by Toyota, is Japan's largest minicar maker and sells cars in over 100 countries.

Well aware of the dominance of small cars in India
, Toyota has been toying with the idea of getting in Daihatsu. However, unable to take a firm decision, the company decided to opt for a new small car under its own badge.

Daihatsu's entry would make its small car portfolio formidable, giving the company a multi-product strategy, which is also being followed by other carmakers like Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai. Toyota, despite its global dominance, has been a late starter in India and has a meagre 3% market share.
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The company, which operates through a JV with the Kirloskars, has now lined up new investment plans, realising the market's growth potential . The company is investing Rs 3200 crore for a new plant at Karnataka, which would mainly be used for its upcoming small car.
Asked whether the company plans to get in its luxury brand Lexus to India, Okabe said it was not being considered at the moment, pointing out that its current focus would be on mass-scale products . On getting in the company's globally-successful hybrid car Prius, the company said the high import duties were a deterrent. "We are in discussion with the government and waiting for a positive response," an official said.

Hiroshi Nakagawa, MD of the Indian joint venture Toyota Kirloskar Motors, said Toyota expected to grow its market share to double digit by 2015, mainly fuelled by its small car.

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