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Toyota signals intent to make India an export manufacturing hub

Toyota signals intent to make India an export manufacturing hub

Toyota President Katsuaki Watanabe earlier this week signaled his intention to make India a major sourcing hub of small car production during a visit to New Delhi to meet Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Commerce Minister Kamal Nath.

   The meeting was billed by Toyota as a “courtesy call” to discuss Toyota’s future in the country, but Watanabe strongly hinted that Toyota may ramp up its operations to produce small cars for export in other markets.

   Currently Toyota operates one plant near Bangalore, which supplies passenger cars for the domestic market (though Toyota has a relatively small share of the market, at roughly 3 percent). Nath, in an interview with the Times of India, indicated that Toyota would likely expand at its current plant rather than build a new facility. He also said that Watanabe said Toyota intends to double its investment in India and “would make small cars in the market that would be exported to other countries as well.”

   Prior to Watanabe’s visit, Toyota officials had already said they want to increase production to 600,000 cars by 2015, 10 times the number manufactured in the country today.