To be imported as a completely built unit (CBU), the Prius has an ex-showroom price of Rs 38.96 lakh. The Camry hybrid is priced at Rs 31.98 lakh. Being a CBU, the volumes of Prius
are expected to be small from the Camry hybrid, which does about 1,000 units a year.
Globally, Toyota has sold about a million hybrid vehicles but believes there is "more to the market (in India) beyond just the numbers".
Tachibana said the hybrid concept is well accepted in the bigger car segment. “We aim to introduce the locally-produced C-segment vehicle in the future. Hybridisation is the best situation in India. But, it faces emission and challenge of fuel efficiency,” he added.
Commenting on the current pricing of such cars, he said, “Unfortunately, hybrid technology today is expensive in comparison to other fuels. But after the introduction of BS-VI emission norms (scheduled for April 2020), the diesel engine would need a significant upgradation. This would make diesel cars expensive and the hybrid ones would be price competitive.”
Tachibana said it would be possible for hybrid cars in the C- and B- segments to compete with other engines in the future.
“We will expand our line-up from the top-end to lower segment with price competitiveness”.
Toyota has entered into a partnership with Japanese carmaker Suzuki, which dominates the Indian car market with about 47 per cent share.
The two would begin “concrete examinations” towards the realisation of the partnership in areas including environmental technologies, safety technologies, information technologies, and mutual supply of products and components.
This would have ramifications for India, which is poised to emerge as the third-biggest car market by 2020. Maruti Suzuki had experimented with mild hybrids in vehicles such as the multipurpose vehicle Ertiga and sedan Ciaz. However, it does not have a full-fledged hybrid offering.