Toyota Kirloskar Motor on Thursday launched the iconic SUV model Hilux in the country.
The automaker, which is a joint venture between the Japanese Toyota Motor Company and Kirloskar Group, has commenced bookings for the model, with deliveries expected to begin in April.
The company noted that the vehicle would come with a 2.8 diesel powertrain mated to both manual and automatic transmissions.
The model comes with a 4X4 drive and a water wading capacity of 700 mm among other safety and convenience features. Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) is expected to reveal the price of the model next month.
''We begin an amazing journey with the launch of an iconic vehicle known for extreme toughness across terrains of the world. The name Hilux needs no introduction, as its global sales have already surpassed 20 million units. This much-awaited lifestyle vehicle is best suited for off-roading adventures and daily city drives,'' TKM Managing Director Masakazu Yoshimura told reporters in an online event.
Today, as India continues to make larger economic strides, many customers are seeking a sophisticated lifestyle vehicle that delivers exceptionally on and off-road prowess and fulfil their daily urban mobility needs, be it work or pleasure, he noted.
''The Hilux will cater to these customer demands and hopefully spawn a new genre in the country. Further, this launch will set the path for us in India to welcome many more new customers to the Toyota family,'' Yoshimura stated.
The model is being produced at the company's Bidadi plant in Karnataka with around 30 per cent of localised content.
Elaborating on the new product, TKM Executive Vice President of Sales and Customer Service Tadashi Asazuma told PTI that considering the customer expectations around the SUV and the segment, this seems to be a good time to introduce Hilux in the country.
''There are many 4x4 enthusiasts who are eagerly waiting for this car. But how big the recreational segment can become in India depends on how much variety of lifestyle we can give to the customer - they should be able to just take their luggage and go outside for a family trip anytime,'' he noted.
The 4x4 vehicles are getting popular with camping culture increasing, so the segment is picking up, Asazuma said.
''If customers get more aware of the benefits of the vehicle, this segment can become more popular in the country. We are hoping this vehicle will help make this market much bigger,'' he added.
When asked about the sales number the company is targeting from the model, Asazuma stated: ''Toyota is more interested in giving maximum customer satisfaction, rather than just achieving volumes. These days our mantra is how can we be a mass happiness provider to society? That is what we are trying to achieve with the Hilux''.
He noted that the model would be sold from its dealerships all across the country.
''We will be going for nationwide sales since India has a variety of road conditions and this vehicle can meet all expectations,'' Asazuma said. When asked if the model could be exported from India, he stated: ''As of now, we are not planning to export. We are focussing all our attention on the Indian domestic market as of now''.
Globally, the Hilux sales have surpassed 20 million units in over 180 countries. The model comes with various first-in-segment features like an electronic drive switch, electronic diff lock, and downhill assist control.
It also features 7 airbags, vehicle stability control and hill assist control.
The automatic transmission (AT) variants generate 204 HP of power and torque output of 500 Nm, while the manual trims generate 204 hp of power and 420 Nm of torque.
All variants come with a 4X4 drivetrain enabling customers to engage in off-roading activities.
(With inputs from PTI)