By Linda Young

Toyota Motor Corp. (TMC) has announced plans to export cars manufactured by its subsidiary in India to South Africa.

The company plans to begin exporting its "Etios" series sedan and hatchback. The vehicles are manufactured by production and sales subsidiary Toyota Kirloskar Motor Private, Ltd. (TKM). Both models run on gasoline.

Toyota has manufactured vehicles in India for sale there since 1999. However, this will be the first time it exports to overseas markets vehicles manufactured in India by TKM.

In a statement, TMC said that it would modify the Etios vehicles slightly to suit "lifestyles, consumer preferences, climate, road conditions and usage considerations in South Africa."

Exporting vehicles manufactured by TKM in India to South Africa fits in with planned expansion into emerging markets. To handle the exports, TKM will increase its annual automobile production capacity from its current 160,000 vehicles to 310,000 vehicles in 2013.

However, Bangalore, India-based TKM says it plans to begin exporting cars to South Africa by March 2012.

Japan's Toyota Motor owns an 89 percent share of TKM, and India's Kirloskar Group owns the rest.

TKM sold 12,807 vehicles in September, which was a 105 percent increase over vehicle sales in August.

Toyota Warns Parts Suppliers to Reduce Prices or Be Replaced

Although Toyota Motors' production in Japan and overseas has recovered from the March 11 magnitude 9 earthquake and tsunami, trouble still looms for the parts suppliers of the Japanese carmaker.

Toyota is threatening its vendors to cut their costs or risk being replaced by overseas suppliers. The cost-cutting measures are part of Toyota's response to the yen's appreciation causing the company to lose $443 million (¥34 billion) in operating profit for every ¥1 appreciation against the dollar.

Toyota hinted to its Japanese spare parts suppliers that it may instead source auto components from emerging markets if the local producers cannot match overseas prices.

Reports said that Toyota gave the condition to its 219 largest domestic suppliers, including Denso and Aisin Seiki, at a meeting held in August in Nagoya Prefecture.

The tremor led to the temporary closure of 17 Toyota domestic plants, which affected the company's manufacturing facilities in the U.S. and Southeast Asia also. Partial production resumed by late March, but the company projected in late April that full recovery would probably be toward the end of 2011.

Despite the impact of the natural catastrophe, Toyota dealers in Japan sold 141,919 new imported vehicles for the first six months of 2011, up by 19.2 percent from a year ago. The boost in sales was attributed by the Japan Automobile Importers Association to fuel-efficient downsized vehicles.



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Driving Today: Toyota to Export Indian-Made Cars to South Africa