Toyota expects record 2023 sales in India helped by Suzuki ties

The Toyota logo is seen on the bonnet of a newly launched Camry Hybrid electric vehicle at a hotel in New Delhi

By Aditi Shah

NEW DELHI (Reuters) -Toyota Motor Corp is on track for record annual sales in India, a senior executive told Reuters, as its partnership with Suzuki Motor, which has a portfolio of affordable cars, attracts a new set of buyers.

Toyota sold over 160,000 cars in India last year and had sold close to 150,000 by the end of August this year, Atul Sood, vice president of sales told Reuters.

"We are confident of closing this calendar year with our best ever performance and setting a new benchmark," Sood said.

Toyota's India business has been the biggest beneficiary of its global partnership with Suzuki which allows the two Japanese carmakers to share technology and vehicles.

Mid-sized vehicles from Maruti Suzuki's stable such as the Glanza hatchback and Urban Cruiser HyRyder SUV have boosted Toyota's India sales at a time when it is seeing slowing growth in markets like Europe and North America and competition in Southeast Asia from Chinese players.

The Glanza is priced starting at around $8,500 and the HyRyder starts at $13,000 while Toyota's top-selling models such as the Innova Crysta and Fortuner SUV are priced at $24,000 and $40,000, respectively.

Cars from Maruti made up about 40% of Toyota's total sales in India in the first eight months of 2023, industry data showed.

Toyota's portfolio in India also includes pricier cars such as the Camry hybrid and the Hilux pickup.

"The HyRyder has given us a new set of customers who are majorly upgrading," he said, adding that these buyers are moving up from smaller hatchbacks and SUVs.

"The majority of the demand is coming from a younger profile," he added.

Toyota has over 600 dealerships across India and plans to expand further, especially in smaller cities, Sood said.

(Reporting by Aditi Shah; editing by Jason Neely)