Late Mover Advantage? (toyota)
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LATE MOVER ADVANTAGE? (TOYOTA)
Though a late entrant, Toyota is planning to conquer the Indian car market. The Japanese auto major wants to dispel the notion that the first mover enjoys an edge over the rivals who arrive late into a market.
Toyota entered the Indian market through the joint venture route, the partner being the Bangalore based Kirloskar Electric Co. Known as Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM), the plant was set up in 1998 at Bidadi near Bangalore.
To start with, TKM released its maiden offer– Qualis. Qualis is not a newly conceived, designed, and brought out vehicle. Rather it is the now avatar of Kijang under which brand the vehicle was sold in markets like Indonesia.
Quails virtually had no competition. Telcos Sumo was not a multi-utility vehicle like Qualis. Rather, it was a mini-truck converted into a rugged all-purpose van. More importantly, Toyota proved that even its old offering, but decked up for India, could offer better quality than its competitor. Backed by a carefully thought out advertising campaign that communicated Toyotas formidable global reputation, Qualis went on a roll and overtook Tata Sumo within two years of launch.
Sumo sold 25,706 vehicles during 2000–2001, compared to a 3 per cent growth over the previous year, compared to 25,373 of Qualis. But during 2001–2002, it was a different story. Quails had been clocking more than 40 per cent share of the market. At the end of Sept 2001, Qualis had sold over 25,000 units, compared to Sumos 18000 plus.
The heady initial success has made TKM think of the future with robust confidence. By 2010, TKM wants to make and sell one million vehicles per year and garner one-third share of the Indian market.
The firm is planning to introduce a wide range of vehicles–a sub-compact, a sedan, a luxury car and a new multi-utility vehicle to replace Quails. A significant percentage of the vehicles will be exported.
But Toyota is not as lucky in China. Its strategy of late entry in China seems to have back tired, In 2005, it sold just 1,83,000 cars in China, the fastest growing auto market in the world. Toyota ranks ninth in the market, far behind Volkswagen, General Motors, Hyundai and Honda.
Toyota delayed producing cars in China until 2002, when it entered a joint venture with a local company, the First Auto Works Group (FAW). The first car manufactured by Toyota-FAW, the Vios, failed to attract much of a market, as, despite its unremarkable design, it was three times as expensive as most cars sold in China.
Late start was not the only problem. There were other lapses too. Toyota assumed the Chinese market would be similar to the Japanese market. But Chinese market, in reality, resembled the American market.
Sales personnel in Japan are paid salaries.