Toyota Motor Corp and group firm Daihatsu are considering building a low-cost car in Indonesia aimed at consumers there and in neighbouring countries, a senior official at Indonesia’s industry ministry.
With vehicle sales in the United States and other developed economies still to recover to pre-financial crisis levels, Toyota and other carmakers are vying to take advantage of growing demand for inexpensive cars in emerging markets.
The car, smaller than the Etios it launched in India in 2010, will cost around 800,000-900,000 yen, the Nikkei business daily reported earlier on Wednesday.
Earlier this month, Renault said it was planning a new factory in Morocco that would eventually be able to produce 350,000 cars a year under its Dacia low-cost brand.
India’s Tata Motors is expanding sales across India of its Nano, dubbed the “cheapest car in the world” with a price tag of a little over $2,000, and has touted plans to bring an electric version to Europe.
Minivehicle specialist Daihatsu, 51 percent owned by Toyota, will invest around 20 billion yen in a new factory able to build 100,000 cars annually in Indonesia, 70 percent of which it will supply to its parent company, the Nikkei said.
Production, which will be 50,000 cars in the first year, is due to begin as early as 2013, the paper said.
By bolstering output in Indonesia, Toyota aims to make the country its second big production base in Southeast Asia after Thailand, the report said.
“We view this story, if accurate, as positive for both companies,” analyst Issei Takahashi of Credit Suisse said in a note to clients.
“As Toyota had previously made no mention of a strategic emerging-market offering positioned below the Etios, this news could well heighten expectations regarding the company’s strategy for industrialised countries,” he said.
Growth in emerging markets was critical to raising Toyota’s operating margin, he said.
Shares of Toyota fell 0.1 percent to 3,905 yen in Tokyo trading, underperforming a 0.6 percent rise in the Nikkei average. Daihatsu shares rose 2 percent to 1,328 yen.
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