Toyota Halts India Expansion, Blaming The Country’s High Tax Regime

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Toyota Motor Corp. won't expand further in India due to the country's high tax regime, a blow for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who's trying to lure global companies to offset the deep economic malaise brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. The government keeps taxes on cars and motorbikes so high that companies find it hard to build scale, said Shekar Viswanathan, vice chairman of Toyota's local unit, Toyota Kirloskar Motor. The high levies also put owning a car out of reach of many consumers, meaning factories are idled and jobs aren't created, he said.

“The message we are getting, after we have come here and invested money, is that we don't want you,” Viswanathan said in an interview. In the absence of any reforms, “we won't exit India, but we won't scale up.”

Toyota, one of the world's biggest carmakers, began operating in India in 1997. Its local unit is owned 89% by the Japanese company and has a small market share — just 2.6% in August versus almost 5% a year earlier, Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations data show.

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