Toyota Kirloskar Motors (TKM) launched the seventh generation of its premium luxury sedan Camry, priced at Rs 23.8 lakh. The car, with improved features, will now be manufactured as a Complete Knock Down (CKD) unit and assembled at TKMâ€™s second plant in Bidadi, Karnataka. The last model was a Completely Built Unit (CBU) imported from Japan, first introduced in India in 2002.
The Camry on paper is targeting an audience aged 40 years and above with approximately a four lakh plus monthly income. â€œThe communication that TKM is projecting is to capture a TG with power and status, the new positioning is at a much higher level than the old Camry,â€ says Sandeep Singh, Deputy Managing Director, Marketing , Toyota Kirloskar Motors.
Added to this, Murad Ali Baig, Auto Expert, feels that the company is mainly looking at businessmen, either the corporate or individual people who have money and obviously status. â€œThe Toyota Camry or the Honda Accord is in the same styles, dimensions and the general classifications as the E class Mercedes or the BMW 5 series, but those cost almost double the price. If you go travel in an Accord or Camry you will be judged to be a worth of Rs five crore, but if you are going in a BMW or a Mercedes you will be judged to be about worth Rs 10 crore.â€
The premium luxury sedan by Toyota has sold over 14 million cars since 1982 over 110 cities around the globe and TKD claims to have over 6,500 Camry owners in India. Hiroshi Nakagawa, Managing Director, Toyota Kirloskar Motors says that the Camry is the second bestselling car after the Corolla and is a D-Premium and E segment vehicle. The total premium car segment in India is only one per cent and has grown by 15 per cent over the last two quarters.
The company is taking a 360 degree approach for the promotion of this vehicle. TKM is targeting TV, print, digital in the mass media platform and a touch feel experience at its showrooms as a part of its BTL activations. â€œWe have developed a separate cell in marketing that looks only at digital. Waku-Doki and Etios-Motorsport are the ongoing campaigns and Camry campaign will be a new addition to it,â€ adds Singh.
According to TKM, the growth in the market in first seven months is about 57 per cent and the company has seen a decline in the C segment vehicles. TKMâ€™s Singh cited that the market is quite sluggish with the media saying that there is seven per cent growth but in the festive season he expects it to go up to eight to 10 per cent. In addition, the 11th global plant to manufacture the Camry, located near Bangalore, is said to have a production line of 2,10,000 cars per year, and TKM expects it to go up to 3,10,000 by next year.
Being a CKD, does the new one counterbalance the price tag as the old Camry was pegged around the same being a CBU?
Baig feels that, the answer is quite clear and the pricing is justified.Â â€œThought the customer feels that since the custom duty had come down, the prices should have come down, but instead, we have had a huge increase in the prices because of the exchange rate.Â Because of the depreciation of the rupee and the appreciation of the Yen the impact has been neutralised,â€ feels Baig.
TKM has the same reason and explains that apart from the aspect of custom duty and fluctuating economy, the Camry has been upgraded with new cutting edge features, which have cost much more to the company. Therefore, instead of the pricing being high it has been kept the same.