Toyota Studies Bringing Daihatsu to India in Threat to Suzuki

  • Introducing brand would require all-new models for India
  • Suzuki, Daihatsu already compete in Japan's minicar market

Toyota Motor Corp. is studying whether there’s enough demand to justify introducing its Daihatsu small-car brand in India, a move that could threaten market leader Suzuki Motor Co.

If Toyota brings Daihatsu to India, it would require all-new models and give the automaker the chance to introduce smaller cars at competitive prices, Naomi Ishii, managing director of Toyota’s India unit, said in an interview at the New Delhi auto show.

Suzuki, which has engaged in a price war with Daihatsu in Japan’s minicar market, dominates in India through Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. Suzuki won approval from shareholders in December to bypass its local unit and set up its first wholly owned car plant in its biggest market. India may leapfrog Germany and Japan to become the world’s third-biggest buyer of new vehicles in 2019, ranking behind China and the U.S., according to researcher IHS Automotive.

Toyota has global ambitions for Daihatsu and said last week it would use about 389 billion yen ($3.2 billion) in stock to make the company a wholly owned subsidiary.

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