Toyota refuses to sell cheap cars, not to tarnish the brand’s image of building high-quality cars.
Toyota’s reputation is very important for CEO Akio Toyoda, who recently responded to Nissan’s announcement to revive the Datsun nameplate in order to sell ultra-cheap cars in emerging markets, declaring that his company will not be following Nissan’s lead. Toyota also refused selling Tata’s Nano, the world’s cheapest car, which made headlines years ago when it was unveiled.
“We are a full-line carmaker,” Toyoda told the reporters in Tokyo. “But to grow sustainably, we need to make a certain level of profit on cars, no matter how big or small they are. Does Toyota have the ability to make cars for 500,000 yen ($6,000) like Tata Motors? I don’t think so. When we think about what customers value in our cars, it’s reliability.”
Toyota already sells the Etios hatchback and sedan in India, the cheapest Etios retails at 400,000 rupees ($7800), which is cheap, but still not as low in price as the Tata Nano or the Maruti Suzuki, another popular budget car in India.