By Drew Johnson
Friday, Mar 23rd, 2012 @ 4:36 pm
 
Toyota says it will not follow Nissan's lead by launching a new budget brand for developing markets. Nissan announced earlier this month that it was reviving its Datsun brand to service the lower end of the market in developing regions like India, Indonesia, and Russia.

Speaking at an event in Tokyo, company CEO Akio Toyoda said Toyota has no interest in chasing the lower end of the market and will continue to focus on reliability and profitability rather than a certain price point.

"When we think about what customers value in our cars, it's reliability," Toyoda told Automotive News. "We won't risk sacrificing quality simply to meet a certain price range."

Toyota will continue to produce a limited number of vehicles for emerging markets - such as its Indian market Etios - but will concentrate on middle and upper-class vehicle segments. Toyota acknowledges that strategy will limit its presence in some of the largest auto markets, but the company says it is willing to service a smaller portion of the market in the name of profitability.

"China has 1.4 billion people, but we don't have to target all 1.4 billion," Toyoda said. "We'll target perhaps 200 or 300 million of that - but that's about the size of the whole U.S. market. It's huge."

Toyota was the world's largest automaker just two years ago, but vehicle shortages caused the Japanese automaker fall to third place in 2011, slipping behind General Motors and Volkswagen.