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Published on: Oct. 5, 2020, 3:51 p.m.
Toyota joins the compact SUV club with Urban Cruiser
  • Toyota Kirloskar Motor launches its compact SUV

By S.M. Boothem

The demand for sport utility vehicles (SUVs), especially compact SUVs, is on the rise and they are becoming more popular among Indian car buyers. SUVs are also major contributors in terms of sales numbers in the domestic market. Almost every auto maker in India is present in this segment and captures its market share based on a number of factors – price, comfort, space, performance, and other features. SUVs now cater both to city driving as well as weekend holiday trips.

The rising sales figure of SUV-makers show that more and more Indian customers are buying SUVs, what with so many new models hitting the Indian markets. All these trends clearly show that compact SUVs will emerge as the second-biggest segment in the Indian market. The latest entrant, Toyota’s Urban Cruiser, has now joined the competition. The price starts from Rs8,40,000. The Urban Cruiser from Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) is the second model in India under the global Toyota-Suzuki alliance following the success of the premium Toyota Glanza hatchback. The company has sold 30,000 units so far.  

“Our entry into the compact SUV space comes at a time when the segment has gained much popularity due to its body type and superior road presence thereby garnering greater connect and appeal among today’s youth. At TKM, the focus is always on delivering the best products and services to our customers who have remained loyal to the brand over the years while looking for ways to welcome more customers, particularly the youth, to the Toyota family,” explains Masakazu Yoshimura, MD, TKM. 

“The launch of the Toyota Urban Cruiser is an important step in that direction. It is our ambition to enable more people to buy and experience a Toyota vehicle and our renowned after-sales service, which is a differentiator for us in this segment. We will continue to emphasise on introducing ever-better cars, better technologies and environment-friendly products and services. Our alliance with Suzuki allows us to surge ahead on that path while building a self-sustaining local ecosystem of suppliers and partners,” adds Yoshimura.

Technology-oriented features

The new Urban Cruiser is powered by the K-Series 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and will be available in a choice of manual transmission (MT) and automatic transmission (AT) with a fuel efficiency of 17.03 kmpl and 18.76 kmpl respectively.  All AT variants are equipped with advanced lithium-ion battery with integrated starter generator (ISG) comprising torque assist function, idle start-stop function and brake energy regeneration function for enhanced fuel efficiency. The Urban Cruiser comes with a warranty of three years or one lakh km (whichever comes earlier). It offers a variety of technology-oriented features; complete entertainment experience with smart playcast touchscreen audio and android/apple carplay.

oyota is well known for its safety features – the Urban Cruiser offers dual front airbags, ABS with EBD, advanced body structure, electrochromic IRVM (Inside Rear-View Mirror), hill hold control, reverse parking camera with display in audio and ISOFIX child seat restraint system.  

To promote the product, TKM roped in Ayushmann Khurrana, Bollywood actor, as its brand ambassador.  “We are truly humbled by the faith reposed by the customers who made the bookings without even knowing the price points and the full list of features. To demonstrate our gratitude and provide an early-movers advantage for customers who pre-booked the Urban Cruiser, we recently announced the ‘Respect Package’, no-cost periodic maintenance for up to two years (or 20,000 km, whichever is earlier), that our customers are appreciating,” said Naveen Soni, senior vice president, sales and service, TKM.

“We are glad to bring our new offering in time for customers to make their festive season purchase decisions. We are anticipating increased demand for SUVs in the coming months and years.  The Toyota Urban Cruiser will play an important role in catering to this demand, particularly from first-time Toyota buyers who are brand conscious and want to experience an international brand,” added Soni. The company opened bookings for the Urban Cruiser in mid-August, but has not disclosed any numbers. 

As per the India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) August 2020 report the auto industry recorded sales volume growth of 2 per cent year-on-year (yoy) in August 2020 (excluding CVs), the first time this has happened since November 2018. This growth was primarily led by the start of the festive season in certain parts of the country and inventory build-up at the dealers’ level to cater to a likely further rise in demand during October and November 2020. After the washout in April 2020, the auto industry reported a month-on-month increase in sales over May-August 2020. 

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