Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Toyota Fortuner: the ploy works

Being a bhp starved Indian, a big motor feel fascinates me. I refer to the instance when you rev the motor lightly and you can fell a big reactive force pushing the front end down by an inch. The big Toyota did just that and I almost jumped!

Heinous looks, a superb engine makes the Fortuner hell of a contender in the premium SUV market. Toyota has smartly given us the aging but proven Hilux (the veggie hauler of Asia) platform for the Asian markets and we see none of the Land Cruiser’s gadgetry coming in here. However, it has been proven that it beats the competition in every aspect; save off road. The good ol' Pajero is still the king there and surprisingly the timid X-Trail fares better in that department. But considering the Indian market: where SUV's are more of a status symbol and hardly 2% are used for the terrain they are built for, I would not ponder on that small fact. In fact, none of the products available are more of hauling trucks than proper off-roaders (The Endeavor’s built on the Ranger platform and not the F-150, the CRV is too soft and now we have a good looking Toyota built on a pick-up).

The sore point is that the Dashboard shares some components with the Toyota Innova. While quality is supreme, you can't digest the fact that you share stuff with a vehicle that costs half as much.

The 3 Litre engine does the job superbly. Toyota has smartly offered only this engine in India. The 2.5L (innova's) engine option is available in Thailand, Malaysia, etc but not India. A proven strategy to maintain a premium and exclusive feel for certain brands. Why, we haven't got the Corolla 1.6 (the real Altis) in India yet, or the Innova 2.0. I guess Toyota is smartly maintaining the 'luxury car' image to have the Corolla competing with the Civic which otherwise should be competing with the Honda City..

To sum it up, a really awesome vehicle with the main selling points being looks and ‘mine is bigger than yours’ mentality. Whatever it is, it has a direct hit on the Indian customer. The response has been so huge that Toyota had to close bookings. It’ll take a year to cater to the present orders..

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