The Classy Entry of Toyota in the Indian Market
Toyota Qualis is the first product of the joint venture of Kirloskar Group and Toyota in India. It launched in January 2000, when two strong players were ruling in the segment, Mahindra Bolero and Tata Sumo.
Whereas, Toyota just updated the looks of a four-year-old, discontinued Toyota Kijang and launched it as Qualis in the country. So no one expected it to be a hit model. But after launch, it turned out to be a very successful product for Toyota. Let’s see why:-
Toyota Qualis: Success in First Run
Yeah, Surely the car looks old as it wasn’t a ground-up redesign. Toyota Qualis isn’t that appealing from its rear end. But the real beauty is at the front. From the front, it looks like it is ready to dominate. The headlamp size and the grille complement each other very nicely. Look from the side though, and you’ll see the 14-inch wheels that kind of spoil the side profile. I mean come on guys, even the Hindustan Contessa had 15-inch wheels in 1995 !!
Get inside the Qualis and you’ll notice the Japanese Quality of the Interior. The interior is far better than its competitors even though it feels a bit outdated. Though the front row is a bit cramped up for tall people, the driver gets a great sitting position. In the middle row, it is easy to accommodate three passengers. The airy cabin and bigger windows make sure that it is comfortable for both driver and passengers.
The engine powering the Toyota Qualis is the 2.4-litre in-line four-cylinder diesel engine that generates 77 HP power and 156 Nm of torque. It requires efforts to pick up speed after the initial start but overall pickup is good. It gives city mileage of 8-9 kmpl and 11-12 kmpl on highways. A fully loaded Qualis feels a bit sluggish. Plus if you own the base model and want to navigate in traffic, we wish you the Best of Luck. That’s because only the top-end model gets power steering as standard.
There are three variants of this car – FS, GS and GS-T. FS stands for Family Saloon and is the base model of the cars with most features stripped off. Targeted at The Tata Sumo it came without AC and power steering as standard. The more premium Grand Saloon (GS) model was a bit similar to the FS model with a side cladding and an aluminium footboard plus standard power steering and AC. The Touring model (GS-T i.e. the top model) was introduced a few months later. This one had all the features which were optional on the other variants. This includes power windows and steering, alloy wheels, dual AC, central locking and more.
Though everyone thought that Qualis won’t sell better than rivals, its sales were surprisingly good. Once it launched, everyone realized that it is a great family car. Its rivals Tata Sumo and Mahindra Bolero had a feel of being a workhorse. That’s because mostly they were used for transporting goods along with people. The Toyota Qualis on the other hand focused on the comfort of the passengers while being economic. It proved Toyota’s Quality with Reliable Engines and by being Durable. It was the favourite model of fleet operators and large families.
While the sales were at their peak, Qualis was getting outdated faster. So rather than introducing the facelift of the Kijang in the Indian market, Toyota discontinued the model. It was later replaced by the Innova, which followed the footsteps of Qualis and its sales are still going strong.
Qualis made a blockbuster entry for Toyota in the Indian market. Toyota took a risk by launching an outdated model with updated fascia, which instead worked in their favour. Many families trusted this car and people that still own one don’t want to let it go. Many people are still buying second-hand models and properly restoring/modifying them for driving daily. We can see many Qualis models on the road, running strong without any issue. We haven’t spotted any Toyota Qualis broken down on the side of the road. If you spot one, tell us too.
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