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Old 23rd May 2014, 12:17   #1
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Default What is Toyota playing?

Toyota is a very experienced manufacturer here in India that now offers a sleuth of products in our market. However, their recent game plan, has left me wondering if they know what they are doing here.

Their announcement of the 11th gen Corolla has had several of us pushing away our car buying decisions and with bookings finally open and a launch scheduled for later this month, must we knowledgeable enthusiasts really be enthusiastic about this?

Let's take a look:
The Indian car market is in a slump and sales of D-Segment sedans have been dwindling for the past couple of years and are predicted to continue on this path. Honda knows this and that's why they have pulled their Civic off showrooms and have no future plans of selling one. So does Skoda, with the Czech marquee now trying to position their Octavia as a high-end D2/entry-level luxury segment competitor. As for the wise Korean folk at Hyundai, they realized that they need to offer a very compelling package in terms of styling, quality, comfort and features, if they hope to attract people into a market so close to the C2 segment.

Toyota's new Corolla however, seems to only offer adequate gizmos, fresh Lexus-esque styling and their age-old promise of reliability. The car looks decent on the outside and while a little better than it's predecessors, the interiors look really cheap. Here are a few sample photos from Motoroids' article on the car:

Boring looking dash with no thought given to the design and placement of buttons
What is Toyota playing?-img_4425.jpg


Cabin clock fit for duty on a Manza
What is Toyota playing?-new2014toyotacorollainterior5.jpg


Even the "carbonfiber" trim doesn't hold up well upon closer inspection
What is Toyota playing?-new2014toyotacorollainterior6.jpg


All those cheap and hard plastics up for display, makes me wonder if this is really an offering from such an experienced manufacturer.
What is Toyota playing?-new2014toyotacorollainterior34.jpg

Months ago, I looked at their flagship offering here, the Camry, and it's Ritz-levels of safety kit,(dual airbags, abs and ebd) and I thought they would never offer anything more in the Corolla even though todays market dictates that such cars ought to offer a little more in terms of safety. Sadly, spec sheets of the 11th gen Corolla seem to be proving me right.

Who is Toyota planning on selling the car to? Why would anyone walk away from the new Honda Ciy (if they wanted reliability) and buy a Corolla? Someone like me,(exactly 6ft tall with longer legs and a shorter torso) might enjoy the extra legroom, but the average Indian's height is only about 5'7" or so. Plus the omission of rear air-conditioning vents will leave anyone shocked. The new City is larger than before and the upcoming Alivio/Ciaz is set to be even roomier. Who is Toyota targeting?

Even the engines on offer are the same as has been for years. Not even minor updates to bump power/torque output up.

With prices set to be between 13-18 lakhs, what's to stop the mature buyers that value a D-segment sedan's advantages over a C2 segment offering or an equivalent SUV, from buying even a Hyundai Elantra or a Renault Fluence?

Toyota's Etios twins target buyers in the premium hatch and entry level 3-box sedan segment with the promise of reliability (meaningless when these segments are already dominated by Japs and Koreans) and space, and they bombed, also partly due to them not being quality global cars.
The Innova targets MUV buyers and has done so well because this demographic only demands reliability and seven seats.
The Fortuner target politicians and has done well too
The Camry, I firmly believe, is only offered on our shores as something for Toyota to display to everyone being a legendary car. Since it is a CBU and they did not bother equipping it with enough to compel people into buying it, I doubt even Toyota bothered if it would sell well.

So here I ask everyone again, with other Japanese manufacturers strengthening the credentials which include already established reliability, and now taking on the Europeans at their own game: quality, safety, dynamics and styling, what is the biggest of them all, Toyota's aim with the Corolla, and general aim with the brand here in India? Is no one else as appalled as me?

Source of photos: http://www.motoroids.com/reviews/new...ven-corollary/
Disclaimer: this is my first thread so mods, please edit it as you see fit and try to go easy on me!

Last edited by Rehaan : 23rd May 2014 at 16:37. Reason: Removing third smiley.
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Old 23rd May 2014, 12:37   #2
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Default Re: What is Toyota playing?

From the pictures the interiors look like some after market fittings than from Toyota. However, as a current Manza owner I would say that the clock integration is way better in the Tata than the Toyota looking out of place in between the ac vents. Even the background is not black as in the Manza for the clock digits.
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Old 23rd May 2014, 12:44   #3
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Default Re: What is Toyota playing?

The audio system in the first picture seems to be put there as an afterthought. I was just going through the autocar site, where there are pics of what I think is the European spec car. Here the audio system looks to be so much better integrated.

http://www.autocarindia.com/auto-gal...905,3.aspx#pic
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Old 23rd May 2014, 13:02   #4
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Default Re: What is Toyota playing?

Well, Toyota is still selling large number because of their major strength: Reliability. And that is the exact weakness of the European brands. No doubt, Europeans are superior in dynamics, interior quality, overall build quality and so on. But they just don't give peace of mind to owners. So the new corolla will find customers.

D-segment is more of a want than a need. If people can afford it, they'll buy it.

The Etios was a strategical mistake from Toyota. Cost-cutting was too evident and private owners didn't like it. It's practical for taxi use though. Toyota should have just got the Yaris and Vios they sell in the SE-Asian market.

Yes, I'm not impressed with the Camry's safety kit and it's priced too steeply. But toyota aren't showing any interest in building it in India.

The article has a factual error. The engine is new. The older one was a 1ZZ-FE and the new one is 2ZR-FE, the latter is a new engine used since 2007.
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Old 23rd May 2014, 13:26   #5
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Default Re: What is Toyota playing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by D4D View Post
Well, Toyota is still selling large number because of their major strength: Reliability. And that is the exact weakness of the European brands. No doubt, Europeans are superior in dynamics, interior quality, overall build quality and so on. But they just don't give peace of mind to owners. So the new corolla will find customers.

The article has a factual error. The engine is new. The older one was a 1ZZ-FE and the new one is 2ZR-FE, the latter is a new engine used since 2007.
We are all well aware that Toyota still sells large numbers however, the brand offers 7 models here in India; Etios Liva, Etios, Corolla, Innova, Camry, Fortuner, Camry Hybrid and only two of these models are popular. Namely, the Fotuner and the Innova. Do note, that even the Innova's sales are decreasing. Last year, they sold 8422 units of the Innova in March while this year, they only managed 3232 units of the same. Facelift doesn't seem to be working eh? It would be very foolish for Toyota to imagine that they can continue operating in the same manner.

I am also aware that this isn't the same engine as the one offered in the first Corolla we saw on our shores. I meant that it hasn't been updated from the previous generation Corolla which it should have been, considering this is an all-new model.
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Old 23rd May 2014, 13:29   #6
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Default Re: What is Toyota playing?

It is evident that Toyota authorities have arrived at a conclusion that unless Indians accept Etios twins in the same numbers as Alto's and Swifts, there is no way they are giving us better Toyota models. They first want the No.1 status in sales first, and then they may bring their niche models. The Indian customer is the customary and traditional Indian way simply says "Pehle Aap". No thanks Toyota.
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Old 23rd May 2014, 13:31   #7
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Default Re: What is Toyota playing?

I do agree with your argument. It definitely seems like Toyota have become complacent, and have now started to take things a little lightly, especially in India. Well Toyota isn't very well known for innovation or change in India. They sold the very old Qualis MUV in India, and it sold like hot cakes. Then, they got in the Corolla, which was an excellent car, and that too sold very well. They got in the Innova, Fortuner and Altis, all of which sold well. Barring 3 models, the Liva, Etios and Camry (in the later years), Toyota has done fairly well considering the low number of models they sell here.


Compare the Corolla sold in the US, to this and the difference is substantial. The integrated HU in the US version looks striking and blends with the design. Same goes with the leather draped door trims and the overall quality inside. But still, we should wait and see the final product, and be sure if that fairs better. Toyota sells largely because its cheap to run, and the badge is trusted.
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Old 23rd May 2014, 13:39   #8
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Default Re: What is Toyota playing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by prakhar1998 View Post
Toyota sells largely because its cheap to run, and the badge is trusted.
Cheap to run and reliable USP, can only be appreciated in the D2/entry level luxury segment where there a big European players. That is what makes the Fortuner sell well since SUV buyers want just that; an SUV. Toyota squandered that opportunity with the Camry. They should have realized that people buying a sedan, want a whole lot more. The Innova also sells only because MUV buyers just want reliability and 7 seats.

In every other segment that Toyota sells cars, here in India, the market wants more than just cheap and reliable since they are used to getting that from the likes of Honda, Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai etc. who also happen to be delivering in other areas now.
Shouldn't Toyota wake up to that fact and start performing in other areas too?
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Old 23rd May 2014, 13:53   #9
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Default Re: What is Toyota playing?

Hello buddy,

I like the angle of the thread along with the point that you are trying to convey but I hardly feel that the back-seated owner will not be bothered about the clock fit and the cheap plastics.

Space, reliability will be the priority mostly BUT there will be customers who go into deep attention for detail, such customers will walk away from the Corolla but I am very confident that this car will sell well.

Anurag.
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Old 23rd May 2014, 14:16   #10
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Default Re: What is Toyota playing?

I disagree that the other East Asians are beating 'the Europeans at their own game'. The 'game' is dominated by the Japanese, and while design and equipment levels are one thing, the Europeans still remain distinguished when it comes to engines, build, ride-handling etc.

While it is true that Toyota has been slow in India, sells at undeserved premia albeit hugely (Innova, Fortuner), and has grossly misread the median car buyer's styling desires in India (Etios, Liva), it is also true I believe that Toyota offers a combination of engine-gearbox-ride-handling-steering-braking-build, a mix that is clearly better than most of the other East Asian models, though still not up to Euro benchmarks.

On these more important parameters I believe Toyota-s are by far the best, and best-rounded East Asian offering. Of course, they are overpriced. For now.

I've seen the new Corolla. Its styling is very impressive, and its interior materials reek of quality. Interior design's a tad retro that's all. THE chauffeur-driven D-segment car, still, clearly IMO.

Last edited by desdemona : 23rd May 2014 at 14:19. Reason: grammar
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Old 23rd May 2014, 14:18   #11
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Default Re: What is Toyota playing?

I have loved Toyota for the reliability it has to offer. My own Innova has done 1,20,000 km in 4 years without any issues. How long can they just use this tag of reliabilty.

Interestingly while studying Manufacturing Management in class I read something interesting about Toyota. Its method of operation and inventory control system. It's known as Just In Time systems and thats what brought Toyota up the ladder.

Now one of the main characteristics of JIT(Just In Time) system are:
-To keep the product simple.
-To not fix anything if it's not broken. Which in or case means that as long as there is no need from our market side to have cars with safety features they will simply not produce it.

Toyota Kirloskar Motors (notice I am saying TKM not Toyota worldwide)has never been a company to give us a futuristic product. They started off in India with a 20 year old model. They then bought in another aging model the Innova which sold and is still selling like hot cakes. They then launched a so called Premium SUV which is anything but premium.(no offence meant to any Fortuner owner,its my dream car too.)

Lets look at what TOYOTA has to offer to the European nations as well as America.
-The same Corolla but with 4 more airbags and esp and an NCAP rating of 5 which the Indian auto-journalist are boasting about.
-The Highlander a fantastic successor to the Innova,look at the amount of space it offers

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-A fun-filled flat 4 cylinder rear wheel drive GT 86.

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-A strong Jeep built on the proven FJ40 land Cruiser, which even if is a bit costly will be bought eyes closed not because of reliability but because of what it has to offer.
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Most of Toyota's premium cars now come with active radar assist,which I am sure we will get in another 20-25 years.

In my opinion it won't matter how many Toyota bashing threads we make or how much ever times we type just change the dashboard of the Etios twins and your good to go and then say "If at all Toyota is listening".

They are quite content with what they are earning in India as that is purely without any extra burden of doing any Research etc. Else do you think they would accept defeat in the hatch back and entry level sedan segment?

They are not here to please us or any thing, its simply "take it or leave it!"
The Fortuner was their last new model. After that it has only been facelifts all the way. They got the U.S.A. and U.K. to please. Heck even the gulf countries are not treated properly. The corolla over there comes with a 2.0 ltr dual vvti engine which is mated to the traditional 4-speed gearbox.

I don't think the problem is with Toyota but with Toyota Kirloskar Motors. Don't know for how long the top management has been there. But they surely need to go for a change to be brought in TKM.
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Old 23rd May 2014, 14:22   #12
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Default Re: What is Toyota playing?

Toyota is playing with our patience.

They are also playing with the Indian psyche.
They are also playing with our resilience.

This is nothing but sheer discrimination.
The clock seems a straight lift from the ebay Rs. 89/- digital clock and the placement seems "top notch".

The HU is not only an after thought, it is poorly integrated and for a Rs. 15 lac car, shows the Toyota management thought process in poor light.

Sad to see that a company which was idolised in Philip Kotler's marketing bible and explained for Just in Time(JIT) and 6 sigma processes stoop to such low levels of "me too" products.

Sad to say but Toyota way ahead seems to be the "way below"!!
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Old 23rd May 2014, 14:36   #13
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Default Re: What is Toyota playing?

I think some people have misunderstood my intent with this thread. I am not enraged with Toyota at all, and I am not here to call up brands and start dissing them. I am only pointing out facts and marveling at how foolish it seems to me, that Toyota is still operating in the same way. I am also trying to attract everyone's insights into whether they still believe that Toyota need not change. My point is, they sell 7 models here in India and only 2 perform well; Fortuner and Innova. Of which, even the Innova's sales are spiraling (to those telling me that this formula has always worked, this ought to be a clear indicator that it will not work for any longer. Remember the Qualis infact sold more than ever in its final months on the market). It obviously costs money to make and sell cars in a country so is it still wise to be making 7 models and selling only 2 of them well? Is there something a noob like me is missing? I hope that people more in-tune with how the industry works, is able to understand me and provide their opinions.
I brought up the Corolla in particular not because I hate it. I don't love the car either. I am not a fan of cars with poor driving dynamics like the Corolla, City, Elantra etc. BUT I have always been able to understand why people buy them, appreciate their strong points and recommend them to people (if it fits their criteria). It's just that this "new" Corolla is their latest offering and a good example for me to use to establish my worries.
Quote:
Originally Posted by desdemona View Post
I disagree that the other East Asians are beating 'the Europeans at their own game'. The 'game' is dominated by the Japanese, and while design and equipment levels are one thing, the Europeans still remain distinguished when it comes to engines, build, ride-handling etc.

While it is true that Toyota has been slow in India, sells at undeserved premia albeit hugely (Innova, Fortuner), and has grossly misread the median car buyer's styling desires in India (Etios, Liva), it is also true I believe that Toyota offers a combination of engine-gearbox-ride-handling-steering-braking-build, a mix that is clearly better than most of the other East Asian models, though still not up to Euro benchmarks.

On these more important parameters I believe Toyota-s are by far the best, and best-rounded East Asian offering. Of course, they are overpriced. For now.
I never said the Japanese marquees are beating europeans. If you read again, you will note that I very carefully selected the words "taking on the Europeans at their own game". I do agree that not all Japanese cars are comparable to the Europeans in terms of quality and driving dynamics but it would be foolish to ignore the fact that there are a few out there today and that that, is an indicator of what might be in the future.
You need to drive more East Asian offerings if you believe that the Toyotas still offer brilliant dynamics like handling and braking. As for ride quality, their top selling models Fortuner and Innova, aren't a very good example of it. Especially the Fortuner.

Last edited by IshaanIan : 23rd May 2014 at 14:43.
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Old 23rd May 2014, 14:41   #14
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Default Re: What is Toyota playing?

Toyota India needs to wake up & upgrade features list on their current cars especially at prices that they sell.
They just can't play reliability as their USP.

Generally speaking, buyer doesn't just need reliability but also needs huge list of features (latest & greatest) that can be showed off and use those as a justifiable expense.
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Old 23rd May 2014, 15:13   #15
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Default Re: What is Toyota playing?

Toyota was never known for being known a stylish or gadget friendly manufacturer, anywhere in the world. Their sole USP was RELIABILITY. Whether US or EU, for someone who wanted the reliability of a Japanese car but with a stylish flourish, it was always Honda.

Look at Toyota's previous Corollas or Camrys & compare them to the Civics & Accords. Honda was always the more 'Stylish' of the Japanese twins.

Now, coming back to the equipment level, Toyota knows that for those who want a Toyota will always get a Toyota. So, they can skimp on features & earn more profit. This attitude is reflected even their most expensive offering; Fortuners, which doesn't even get ESC, Side airbags etc as Standard equipment for a 25+ Lakh vehicle.

This is where Hyundai is going to make a strong effort to move upmarket. The Elantra & Santa Fe are evidence of having Japanese level reliability with a more flashy style & gizmos.

As Indians are exposed more to other competent products, the fascination with the famed 'T' brand will fade & the Toyota products have to match feature-for-feature with their competitors. (The Etios/Liva debacle is proof of the Indian market maturing)
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