Japanese automaker Toyota’s Indian arms’ deputy managing director N. Raja has just clarified that the company is not in discussions to stop the production of Corolla Altis executive sedan in India. There were several reports doing rounds on the internet stating that the Japanese company is preparing to stop the production of the Corolla in Indian market, but the recent statement by the top honcho at the company has put a rest to that, at least for now. The reason behind the speculation gaining wind in the auto sector was that the current diesel engine in the Toyota Corolla in India does not comply with the upcoming BS-VI emission norms that will come into effect from April next year. The company has also not made it clear whether it will be upgrading the diesel engine and this means that Corolla Altis is only left with the petrol engine in India come April 2020. In the global markets, the Corolla Altis gets a petrol-hybrid engine but the same setup will be too expensive for the Indian market. Hence the speculation about Toyota Corolla Altis being discontinued in the Indian market gained wind.
Here is what N. Raja had to say about the entire matter to a leading daily,
Officially there is no discussion on stopping Corolla. Still, the discussion is on to continue Corolla. The future model of Corolla which is BS-VI compliant is available globally. We have been discussing with the parent company. More clarity will come closer to the time of BS-VI norm implementation. We are studying the demand of Corolla. The customer of C-sedan segment (Executive sedan segment) is either moving towards B-high segment (Honda City, Toyota Yaris and Hyundai Verna) or it move towards D-segment (Toyota Camry and Skoda Superb) as it offers more luxury. Over the years the C-sedan segment is shrinking.
Toyota Corolla Altis has been the segment leader of the executive sedan segment in India. Corolla Altis locks horns with the likes of newly relaunched Honda Civic, Skoda Octavia, and Hyundai Elantra in the Indian market. Although Honda Civic is currently the best selling vehicle in the segment as of now, the sales of the entire executive sedan segment is dwarfed by the sales of the SUV options in the same price range in the Indian market. Several competitors like the Mahindra XUV500, Jeep Compass and recently launched Tata Harrier have dented the sales of the executive sedans in India. The end of the SUV onslaught is nowhere near in sight as newly launched MG Hector and upcoming Kia Seltos will further eat into the sales of the executive sedans. Now it remains to be seen as to how the executive sedan segment fares in the Indian market in the context of changing customer preferences in India.