While recent statistics show India has more than 400 million people living below the poverty line, this hasn’t deterred luxury automobile manufacturers from tapping into the country’s vast market potential. According to Indian media reports, German luxury car manufacturers Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz have continued to see a rise in sales from the local market.
Having taken notice of this, Japanese automobile giant Toyota is reportedly considering launching the luxury Lexus brand in the World’s largest democracy. The company currently operates in India under its subsidiary Toyota Kirloskar Motor Private Limited (TKM). Established in 1997, the subsidiary is now the country’s fourth largest car manufacturer and sells around 2.6 million units annually.
Naomi Ishii, Managing Director of TKM was quoted in The Times of India as saying, “We see a lot of opportunity in India now. Given that the three German brands are doing well, I feel we need Lexus here.”
Ishii said to ensure the successful rollout of the Lexus line the company would need to price the brand competitively which would most likely mean setting up local assembly plants. Like Pakistan, Indian consumers suffer greatly from the ludicrous import-duty imposed on all luxury vehicles.
Toyota has maintained a five percent market share in the country’s popular sedan market, particularly with the rollout of the eleventh edition Corolla – a model that’s been around for almost five decades. But with India on the fast-track to becoming an economic superpower, now may finally be the right time to bring-in the ‘big guns’.