Toyota Kirloskar Motor today unveiled its hybrid small car 'Prius' at a trade fair in Bangalore. The car will be ready for roll-out in India by the end of 2010.
Talking to reporters at the 18th International Engineering and Technology Fair (IETF), managing director Hiroshi Nakagawa said: ''The small car will be entirely new, designed specifically for the Indian market. Work on our second plant in Bangalore is on schedule and some of the additional capacity will be for the small car.''
Developed and manufactured by the Toyota Motor Corporation, the Prius went on sale in Japan in 1997, making it the first mass-produced hybrid vehicle. It was subsequently introduced worldwide in 2001. The Prius is sold in more than 40 countries, with its largest markets being Japan and North America.
However, Nakagawa cautioned, ''The Indian market may not be ready yet for the Prius. It can be made here if the government extends the kind of tax concessions available in Europe and Japan itself [for hybrid cars]. We are in talks with the Indian government about this.''
Deputy managing director Sandeep Singh said sales began to pick up from January after a dull December, indicating that the market was reviving and consumer confidence returning. Factors such as a cut in excise duty and easier loans had also helped. ''We sold 52,000 units of Innova and Corolla last year and we should reach the same figure this year too,'' he said.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the 2008 Prius is the most fuel efficient car sold in the US. The UK department of transport reported the Prius tied as the sixth-least CO2-emitting vehicle on sale in that country.
According to general perception, to succeed in the Indian market you need to have a small car, as the other companies, such as Maruti, Hyudai, Tata and Fiat already do. Most car companies in India are reducing production in the eye of decreasing demand.