The lingering uncertainty on sale of high-end diesel vehicles in the national capital region has come as a big blow to Japanese auto major Toyota’s “confidence in India”, forcing its domestic unit to rework its plans.
“Toyota Motor’s confidence in India has taken a big knock after the Supreme Court ban since mid-December last on sale of high-end diesel cars and SUVs, and the continuing uncertainty… is only adding to it. But it is our job at Toyota Kirloskar Motor to reinstate that confidence,” TKM Vice-Chairman Shekhar Vishwanathan said here over the weekend.
Stating that “the element of trust has been broken” between Toyota and the country as a whole, he said “it has become very difficult to launch new products or commit fresh investments. This is in spite of the fact that we have been producing vehicles complying with all the norms laid out in the country from day one”.
“If we were to go and ask the headquarters for new products, they would ask how do you know it will not get banned? And I have no answer. So, my first step is to make sure the ban gets lifted. If that means paying a nominal cess, so be it even though we don’t believe the cess is a fair idea,” he asserted.
On December 16 last year, the apex court banned sale of all diesel cars/SUVs with an engine capacity of 2,000 cc or more till March 31. It then extended the ban till April 30. As of now, there is no final word on when the SC will conclude the hearing and issue a final order.
Toyota models the Innova, Fortuner, Land Cruiser and Prado – except the Corolla and lower-end models have taken a hit. The ban has also upset all calculations for Mahindra, Tata Motors, Toyota and Mercedes.
M&M tried to work around the ban as it launched existing vehicles with down-sized engines within a month of the SC order.
For now, Toyota is playing along. The Innova Crysta is the first launch following the Supreme Court restriction.