A little over two years into its introduction in India, sales numbers have been middling for the conservative Toyota Etios twins. The Liva, smack in the middle of the Indian auto market's core segment, did not manage to cross 2,500 units on any month in the second half of last year, while the Etios's sales evolution in 2012 was a downhill ride, but for a few blips.
As the drawbacks or qualms on these two models are being addressed by Toyota in installments, one should also note that 2012 wasn't the best year for the auto industry.
As manufacturers have shown traditionally, cranking up the numbers is possible in two ways (besides price revisions) -
1) Facelift operation
2) New variants
Reports appearing on the internet from credible sources point to a 2013 launch for the Etios refresh. If the past refreshes on the Innova and Fortuner are anything to go by, expect cosmetic changes constituted by new lights, grille, hood, bumpers and wheels.
But what about the second case? The two 'in things' for manufacturers attempting to instill cheer into their low cost cars are bringing out a compact version to be able to increase the affordability, or to add a rough road package, lending a faux off-road look to the otherwise humble hatchback.
We wrote to Toyota Kirloskar Motor soliciting a reply, and here's how the public relations manager responded -
We are not planning to introduce Etios in sub-4 meter category and our current efforts are being made to further strengthen the success of existing Etios. Similarly, for Liva, we do not have any plan to introduce a Cross over variant of the same.
Toyota was rumored to be developing a 'Cross Etios' version for the Brazilian market to take on the newly launched Hyundai HB20X and Honda Fit Twist variants. However Toyota doesn't seem to be interested in exploring variants on the Etios for India as of now.
[Image: Caranddriverbrasil.uol.com.br (Cross-Liva rendering)]