Toyota making eight new models for emerging markets

Toyota said Friday it will roll out a number of new compact cars priced around $12,500 in developing nations, targeting sales of more than one million of the models annually in emerging markets by 2015.

Japan's biggest automaker said it would make eight new cars at plants in Thailand, Indonesia, India and Brazil, priced at "about 1.0 million yen ($12,500) or more."

"We don't sell cars priced at 500,000 yen," Toyota executive vice-president Yukitoshi Funo told reporters at its Tokyo headquarters.

While the new models are squarely aimed at emerging nations, including China, Indonesia and Brazil, "if customers in the United States or Europe like them, I will flexibly think about (selling them there)," Funo added.

In 2010, the firm launched its Etios compact to the Indian market with a base price of about $10,000, still far higher than domestic rivals such as Tata Motors, whose Nano sells for as little as $2,900.

Total sales of Etios have surpassed 100,000 vehicles in India since its debut, the company said Friday.

Etios is part of a broader plan to see half of Toyota's worldwide vehicle sales come from emerging markets, up from 45 percent in 2011, as global automakers rush to emerging nations amid stuttering sales in their developed markets.

The automaker, which includes the brands Toyota, Lexus, Daihatsu and Hino sold 7.35 million vehicles globally in the year to March.

Funo offered few details about the new Toyota models, but said they will have an "excitement" factor.

"Cars need to have a factor of excitement -- when a father buys a car, he must draw respect from his family who should say 'Daddy, well done,' and the family should enjoy going on a picnic on a weekend in that car," he said.

Separately, Funo said the market in Myanmar was "too small" at the moment, but added that Toyota was keeping its eye on the nation as it adopts a string of democratic reforms, and swings opens its doors to business.

"We would like to observe the pace of growth in the market in a country with a positive outlook," he added.

Toyota regained its position as the world's number one automaker in the first quarter, stealing back the lead from US giant General Motors, according to manufacturers' figures.

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