Toyota "premium" model sales come close to overall luxury car sales

Sales of Fortuner have been on fire in 2023, as monthly sales hovered around 3,000 units.

BHPian pqr recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

H1 2023 : Toyota premium product sales reach close to luxury car sales

It's intriguing to note that in H1-2023, sales of Toyota India's premium product lineup came very near to those of the entire Indian luxury car industry.

This also calls into question what Toyota has done so well in India that other luxury brands combined could not do to develop the luxury car market.

H1-2023 Toyota premium products

Fortuner, of course, commands the lion's share of the volume, and the range starts for the base petrol variant at ₹ 33 lakh and goes up ₹ 50.4 lakh for the GR-S version. 97% of Fortuner sales come from diesel-powered engines. The Camry and Vellfire are sold with a hybrid drivetrain only. The Toyota Land Cruiser 300 was also brought into India in fully imported form with a diesel-only engine.

Sales of Fortuner were on fire in 2023, as monthly sales hovered around 3,000 units a month!

It is also rather amazing to observe how the Toyota logo transcends such a wide range of pricing points and packs a powerful brand punch.

With great enthusiasm, Mercedes introduced the V-Class at the 2020 Auto Show, but had to discontinue, due to a lack of demand. Meanwhile, Toyota is selling an increasing number of imported Vellfires each year. The valued Land Cruiser 300 and the restricted allocation, were completely sold out in just three months, outpacing sales of the Mercedes GLS Maybach in H1-2023.

Brand is a case study in and of itself, especially when poorly conceptualized low-cost products such as Etios and Liva were unable to damage the luxury sheen of their brand equity.

Toyota's most recent blunder has been the Hilux pickup, which has struggled to find requisite buyers due to overpricing and incorrect lifestyle-pickup market assessment.

Here's what GTO had to say about the matter:

The Fortuner is as premium a car, as "un-premium" the entry-level cars from Audi, BMW & Mercedes are.

But what we are missing here is the larger picture. Truth is, the 30 - 50 lakh segment has products that have become so strong that:

  • This segment is growing at the cost of luxury car sales. Fact = the 60 lakh - 1 crore space simply hasn't grown since 2015 as much as the luxury brands expected.
  • Arguably, many 40-50 lakh cars from mainstream brands are superior to the smaller cars from luxury marques.
  • Nothing other than the badge (Camry vs ES, Kodiaq vs Q2 or Q3).
  • Many customers who can afford to spend 70 - 80 lakhs are still buying a 35 - 50 lakh product and happily living with it. Very frankly, this price band offers you all the car you need, be it the Hyundai Tucson, Innova Hycross or Kodiaq.
  • This segment offers the ultimate "value luxury" models. On the other hand, almost all cars priced at 60 lakhs and over are overpriced.

Here's what BHPian Hayek had to say about the matter:

Sorry if this comes across as rude but I don’t see how anyone can call the Fortuner a “Premium Product”. The Fortuner is an SUV built on a very basic ladder frame chassis - it’s not even comparable to Toyota’s own SUVs sold in developed markets. It is great for people travelling on rural roads in emerging markets - but had second-grade interiors and lacks any semblance of refinement. It does what it is meant to do brilliantly - which is why it is the highest-selling product in its price bracket. But that does not make it Premium.

Here's what BHPian Shreyans_Jain had to say about the matter:

Absolutely agree with Hayek.

Toyota’s so-called premium products - Fortuner and Innova, are a textbook example of how entrenched herd mentality is in Indian customers. There is nothing premium about both cars, yet they sell in their thousands at such inflated prices.

It is the Indian market’s loss that we have repeatedly shunned more competent products like Endeavour and Hexa, mainly on preconceived notions.

The only premium products they actually sell are the Camry and Velfire. Both are niche products with zero competition and sell at whatever prices Toyota feels like asking, in their limited quantities.

Here's what BHPian Cresterk had to say about the matter:

It is premium in the same way that the entry level Mercedes A class and BMW X1, Audi A3 etc are considered premium here. They are priced at a premium despite no one considering them as luxury cars in developed markets.

Pull up in a 130hp X1 in any developed market. Just casually refer to it as a luxury car and see how quickly you will be laughed at even by people driving a 5-year-old Honda.

Here's what BHPian Nikhildrao had to say about the matter:

Allow me to play the devil's advocate here. The definition of luxury is a state of great comfort (acc to Google/Merriam-Webster). So, keeping that in mind, I think the Fortuner is in a sense a luxury product as it negates most of the stress of its occupants by being dead reliable and handling our country's horrendous road infra in and out of the cities. I think that peace of mind is very underrated and sometimes sophistication is not necessary for the everyday Joe.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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