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Image3. Toyota Etios

Toyota Kirloskar Motor Pvt Ltd showcased the Etios which turned out to be a head-turner at the Auto Expo held in New Delhi in January 2010.

While the car was not a production model, people at the Expo got a fairly clear picture of what the car would look like once it arrived by the year end and also about what they could expect on it. Toyota displayed both, the hatch and the sedan models, at the Auto Expo.

Design: The Etios was originally called the EFC, or the Entry Family Car. Etios means Spirit and Principle which Toyota intends to give to its customers in India. More than 2000 engineers in India and Japan have worked in close collaboration for four years to ensure the perfect blend of local design sensibilities and unmatched global quality standards are integrated into the Etios.

The chief engineer of Product Planning at Toyota Mr. Yoshinori Noritake said, "In the process of development of Etios, I have visited many Indian cities and homes to understand the market and interact with customers. The Etios concept will cater to the basic needs of this market - highest standards of quality at competitive prices.

Toyota's new compact cars have been designed to offer innovative styling, roomy interiors, superior ride comfort and best in class mileage at competitive prices. The design concept of 'Bold Simplicity' represents the pursuit of the perfect combination of functionality and affordable luxury.

The Etios incorporates advanced technology and superior quality features that have been developed by Toyota, specifically for India, by leveraging the world class innovation that Toyota is globally renowned for.

Mechanicals: The production version of Etios will resemble the concept model. Toyota Etios has been developed on a new platform and has a completely new engine which is not present in any Toyota car so far.

The sedan which will be the first version to be launched in the country will offer a 1.5l DOHC petrol engine and the hatch which will be launched in 2011 will offer a 1.2l DOHC petrol engine and will come with lower excise duties. Both, the models, the sedan and the hatch, will sport new engines which have been specially designed for Indian conditions, where high mileage was an important factor in the designing of the engine.

Hopefully, there will also be a diesel car as a diesel version of the car would make a lot of sense for several buyers especially here in India. Also, considering it would come from the Toyota stables, most buyers would be only too happy to put down the extra thousands for a diesel engine by Toyota, humming under their hoods.

The fact that Toyota has recently launched the Toyota Corolla Diesel, it wouldn't be too far-fetched to think that Toyota would launch the Etios only with petrol engines.

Competition: Maruti Suzuki Swift and the Swift Dzire will be the main competition for the Toyota Etios. In addition to the sales in India, the car, which is Toyota's biggest project, the car will roll out of the Bengaluru plant and will also be offered for sale in China, Russia and South America.

The company already has Toyota Corolla, Toyota Innova, Toyota Camry and Toyota Innova along with newly launched SUV, Toyota Fortuner, in its portfolio.

Price: With the introduction of the Etios Toyota will enter the under Rs 7 lakh (Rs 700,000), mass volume segment. Toyota Kirloskar aims to sell 70000 units of the Etios in India per annum and it will also expand its dealership network to 150 by the end of 2010 from its existing 97 dealers, at the time of the Auto Expo in January 2010.

Image: Toyota Etios