Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM), the joint venture between Toyota Motor and Indian engineering conglomerate Kirloskar Group, has started exports of Etios models to South Africa from its facility near Bangalore via the port of Ennore.
It is the first time the company, in which Toyota has a controlling 89% share, has exported vehicles - the inaugural shipment aboard NYK Line's vessel Antares Leader contained just fewer than 250 models - but export volumes are expected to grow said a spokesperson for the company. TKM expects to export a total of 20,000 vehicles per year to South Africa, including the Etios series of sedans and hatchbacks. A spokesperson told Automotive Logistics News that the respective target sales mix will be 30% sedan and 70% hatchback.
"The start of the export operations at TKM denotes the growing role of TKM in Toyota's global operations," said Vicente Socco, executive vice president, Toyota Motor Asia Pacific. "India has always been a very important market for us and it is further reiterated with the advent of the Etios export to South Africa. TKM's foray into the export market promises a lot of growth for the company," he told those gathered at an event to celebrate the first exports at the port of Ennore.
"Toyota Kirloskar Motor has a come a long way since its inception in India and with the advent of the export of the Etios, we have been successful in completing our vision of making Toyota India operations a strategic hub for both the domestic and global market," added Hiroshi Nakagawa, managing director, TKM.
The export version of the Etios, dubbed the 'World First, India First' series, will be manufactured on the same platform as the Etios and Etios Liva (hatchback) models for the Indian market but will be customised to suit local requirements and only the petrol version will be sent overseas.
It is being manufactured at TKM's second plant located in Bidadi industrial area on the outskirts of Bangalore alongside models for the domestic market, which include diesel versions of the Etios as well as the Corolla Altis.
TKM's adjacent first plant makes the Innova and Fortuner models, and imports the Camry, Prado, Land Cruiser and Prius, though the company has just announced that it will build the Camry there from next July.
Export volumes from India are currently facing some uncertainty in terms of growth, though there are some positive indications.
Ford reported an export figure of 30,000 vehicles from India last year, approximately 20% of its local output, with the Figo model being a particular favourite and now being shipped to 34 countries. It made its made its first shipment of Figos to South Africa in July last year (read more here).
Elsewhere PSA Peugeot-Citroën plans to export 25% of output from its facility in the state of Gujarat when production of the Peugeot 508 begins in 2014.
There are concerns amongst European carmakers that the pending free trade agreement between the EU and India could grant immediate free-duty access for Indian passenger car exports to the EU but retain a 30% tariff on European vehicles exported to India (read more here).
At the same time, according to India's Business Standard, the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), has complained to the Indian government that it is discouraging the assembly of larger vehicles in India by increasing excise duty while preparing to allow import of the same from Europe at a much lower duty. Siam said that while the government has increased excise duty on big cars to up to 27% it is considering cutting import duty on such cars from Europe to as low as 10% under the India-EU free trade agreement.
*In a separate development Toyota has announced that its Fortuner SUV for the Egyptian market will be assembled by subcontractor Arab American Vehicle (AVV). The company will assemble around 3,000 Fortuner vehicles a year, with Toyota Motor Engineering Egypt S.A.E. (TMEE) managing vehicle quality control, supply and demand management, as well as overseeing logistics services.
TMEE is a joint venture established in June 2011 by Toyota Motor, Toyota Tsusho and Toyota Egypt S.A.E., TMC's independent vehicle distributor in Egypt.
Toyota sold approximately 10,000 vehicles in Egypt last year.