Toyota Kirloskar Motor earlier rolled out its "Drive the Nation" offer specifically for state and central government employees. Under the scheme, Toyota was selling its Etios cars (Platinum Etios sedan, Etios Liva and Etios Cross) to government employees with 100 per cent on-road financing and the option of extending the loan tenure to up to eight years for smaller instalments. Toyota says that it has now included the Corolla Altis under the offer, but it's unclear if buyers can finance 100 per cent of its on-road value or not.
Toyota cites "strong demand" as the reason for extending the offer till December 31, 2017, and bringing another sedan under this sales campaign. Year-end offers along with an impending price hike help carmakers get rid of the current stock before entering the new year. Having high inventory levels this time of the year is a major reason behind massive discounts. The fact that the offer is now extended and also applicable for the Corolla Altis suggests that these cars are witnessing weaker than expected demand. It's not surprising though as sedans and hatchbacks across all segments are fighting to safeguard their territory while SUVs and crossovers continue to march ahead.
Three years ago, the Toyota used to sell around 800 units of the Corolla every month while now the monthly dispatch figure hovers around 400. During the same period, the Etios Liva and Liva Cross have also lost about 30-40 per cent of their sales while the Etios sedan remained unaffected due to strong fleet sales.
While the Toyota Etios and its lookalikes may not have an inspiring design or powertrains, it's the lack of their ability to surprise their owners that helps them attract buyers. The car ranks high on reliability and despite what its low power figure might suggest, its bottom and mid-range torque makes it an easy car to drive in the city. The Toyota Etios also recently won the JD Power Initial Quality Study by recording only 56 problems per 100 cars sold. The industry average stands at 95 PP100. The Volkswagen Polo family had the next best score of 69 PP100.