It’s already the New Year but the global auto market is still witnessing some slowdown. In a fresh example, Toyota has decided to postpone the India debut of its luxury brand, Lexus. Earlier, the launch was scheduled to take place sometime in 2013. The announcement of this was done by Toyota Motor Corporation back at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show. The new debut date has also not been announced by the company so it’s quite evitable that the launch has been postponed by an indefinite period. Toyota blames this delay on the very high import duty to launch CBU units in India and also the sharp depreciation in the rupee value.
Sandeep Singh, deputy MD of Toyota’s Indian subsidiary Toyota Kirloskar Motors, confirmed stating that the launch date has definitely been postponed from 2013. He added that the reasons behind it are import duty on fully-built cars is very steep in India, especially after it was raised further in the Union Budget last year. Toyota had plans of taking the CBU route for the Lexus brand in India and no localized manufacturing. Mr. Singh also added in his statement, “The fall in rupee has also emerged as a major challenge, and just does not make it right to import the cars.”
Though Lexus’s German counterparts like Audi and BMW have seen strong growth in the luxury market in India, in recent times these companies too are facing big challenges to stay positive in terms of profits. Last year, Mercedes Benz witnessed its sales figures going south for the first time since 2009. On second thought, I think the postponing of the launch of the Lexus brand has been a good call for the Toyota officials. With such intense competition, a CBU Lexus model would make no sense in India when you can own a German rival at lesser price (say a BMW 3 Series which is locally assembled). Toyota can take some time to think about a new business strategy in re-launching Lexus in India.