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Toyota launches Prado SUV

November 20, 2004 11:50 IST
Japanese automobile major Toyota on Friday entered into India's premium sports utility vehicle segment with its Landcruiser Prado. The Prado is the fourth model from the Toyota stable to be introduced in India, after the Qualis, Corola and the Camry.

K K Swamy, deputy managing director, Toyota Kirloskar Motor, said: "The premium SUV segment in India has grown by 245 per cent over the last year. We are looking at the high-end customer for the Landcruiser Prado."

The company plans to sell around 200 vehicles in a year. Of this, 80-100 units are expected to be sold by June next year. Prado comes with a price tag of Rs 35.85 lakh (Rs 358 millioN) in Mumbai and Rs 37.50 lakh (Rs 375 million) in Delhi. It will hit the Indian roads on December 17.

"The car comes with a 4 litre VVTi powered V6 engine and gives a mileage run of around 5-6

per litre," Swamy said.

The premium SUV segment has players such as the Mercedes-Benz M-Class (Rs 45 lakh plus), the HM-Mitsubishi Pajero 3.2 (Rs 35 lakh) and the BMW X5e.

A step below comes the Nissan X-Trail (Rs 20-24 lakh), the Suzuki Grand Vitara V6 ( Rs 18 lakh) and the Hyundai Terracan. The entry level CBU SUV race is between the Honda CRV and the Chevrolet Forester (Rs 12-15 lakh) while Ford assembles the Endeavour (Rs 14 lakh) in India.

While Toyota did not rule out introducing a diesel version of the SUV in India, Swamy said, the company will decided on launching the diesel version based on the market response in the coming months. Toyota launched the Prado in 1985, however, the car was positioned as a SUV only in 1990.

BS Corporate Bureau in New Delhi