You read it first on MotorBeam. Toyota had introduced the Prius in India in 2010, which is a compact hybrid sedan offered with a hefty price of Rs. 29.93 lakhs (ex-showroom, Delhi). The Prius comes in India through the CBU (Completely Built Unit) route, hence the alarming price tag. Toyota was expecting decent volumes from the hybrid vehicle but the Prius failed to woo the Indian buyers, as they can easily get a BMW X1 or an Audi Q3 with a frugal diesel engine at the same price point.
The Japanese automaker is now planning to locally assemble the Prius in India from end-2014 at Toyota’s Bidadi plant near Bangalore in Karnataka in order to give it a sensible pricing. We had speculated about the local assembly of the Prius as far back as last year (HERE), when we posted spy shots of the Prius on test on Bangalore roads. Now our sources in Toyota confirm to us about Prius CKD operations, which will start by the end of next year.
Earlier we had seen similar scenario with the Honda Civic hybrid that was launched with a whopping price tag of Rs. 21 lakhs and eventually the automaker had to cut Rs. 8 lakhs on the vehicle in order to clear inventory. Selling expensive environment-friendly cars in an unfriendly economic scenario is not a good strategy taken by manufacturers for the Indian market. Case in point is the sales of the Prius, which sells 0 units for most of the months.
With the Toyota Prius coming from the CKD (Completely Knocked Down) route, we can expect a major cut in the pricing of the car with reduced excise duties. The price of the Prius has gone upwards in the past few years, with the Rupee declining and the Yen rising sharply. More so, the Indian government has hiked duties on CBU models, resulting in the Prius becoming even more expensive.
After experiencing a big failure with the Prius, Toyota is still struggling hard to sell the hybrid vehicle anyhow unlike Honda. Coming to the tech specs of the Toyota Prius, it is powered by a combination of a 1.8-litre petrol engine and 60 kW motor that produces a maximum power of 98 BHP at 5200 RPM with 142 Nm of peak torque at 4000 RPM, mated to a 6-speed automatic CVT transmission. The styling looks modern with decent interior space and tech features including rear-view camera, Bluetooth with phone book access, navigation system, audio streaming, voice recognition and text to speech functions.