Gone but Not Forgotten: Toyota Qualis
We at Auto Punditz have always been fascinated with data. This coupled with our love for automobiles have made us initiate a new series in our website named ‘Gone but not Forgotten’. The intent of this series will be to pay homage to models which would have made enormous impact in the Indian market and is still fond by many consumers. The first model to be part of this series is the Toyota Qualis. The reasons for listing Qualis in our first post is –
Qualis was the first model launched by Toyota India (way back in 2000)
It is one of the few models which have been discontinued at its peak. Qualis registered one of its all time highest monthly sales in December 2004 while the model was discontinued in January 2005!
The model earned Toyota the fame for having the most durable engines in the market. You can still find Qualis running on the road fuss free even with lakhs of kms on the odometer.
It is not easy for any OEM to launch a MPV as the first model in a country. Toyota not only dared; but was hugely successful with it!
It paved a way for Toyota to showcase its superiority in terms of ‘Quality, Durability & Reliability’ promise. This paved way for Toyota to launch much costlier Innova and also be successful with it.
The Toyota Qualis marked the entry of Toyota Kirloskar Motor Private Limited – a joint venture of Toyota Motor Corporation and Kirloskar Group in India in 2000. Qualis was nothing but a ‘Kijang’ which was sold globally. Qualis was based on the 3rd Generation global model, but with updated front & rear styling and also shared some 4th generation drivetrain components. Qualis was pitted against the already successful Tata Sumo & Mahindra Bolero. However; it slowly became the favorite of the fleet operators & large Indian families. Qualis earned popularity as a capable workhorse and had the ability to handle the Indian roads. It sold over 1.4 Lakh units in the 61 months existence in the Indian market. The model had an early death as the critics said that the vehicle was outdated and came with an awkward / non-aerodynamic design.
Let us see how the model fared in the years it existed in the Indian market –
The above chart clearly signifies how Qualis had gained popularity over the years it existed in India and how it was discontinued at its peak!
Qualis sold an average of 2,338 units per month in the 61 months it was on sale in the Indian market. The model fared well as an entry model for Toyota India.
As a matter of fact; the model was not only discontinued in India, but globally too. Toyota replaced the Kijang/Qualis with either a smaller Avanza or the larger Innova. India as a market; got the Innova.
We also believe that Toyota has huge potential to sell Avanza in the Indian market. It is an excellent entry-level MPV from Toyota’s stable and will suit perfectly to Indian conditions. The only reason Toyota may not bring Avanza to India is that the Innova is already successful and the margin on Innova’s sales would be obviously higher than that of Avanza.
In its existence in India; Qualis was primarily sold in 3 variants –
The Qualis was launched in January 2000 at an on-road price of around 5.7 lakhs for the base variant and 8 lakhs for the top-end variant. The models that were introduced were the FS (Family Saloon) and the GS ( Grand Saloon) and GS-T (Grand Saloon Touring).
The Family Saloon (FS) model was the entry level model and the cheapest variant of the Qualis. It was a bare-basic model which was actually targetted for the tourist business (read that as Sumo). This model came without a/c and power steering and these luxuries were available only as an option. The FS Model was a 10 seater with a bench seat for the passenger in the first row and side facing seats in the last row. So the seating configuration was a 3+3+4. It was available in a choice of 3 solid colors i.e. White, Red and Blue. There were further variants within the FS range – B1, B2, B3, B4 and B5. Since the FS was the base version targetted towards Sumo/Bolero buyers, Toyota offered this model with minimum equipment and with only solid colors. Metallic paint was not even offered on the FS Model – and to make things worse, there was a choice of only 3 colors – Maroon, Dark Blue and White. The lowest variant of the FS model did not even have Power Steering, Power Windows and A/C. To make matters worse, even decals were not offered standard on the FS model.
The Grand Saloon (GS) was the model that was targetted at the family buyer. It was available in 8 and 10 seater configuration. The 10-seater configuration was similar to the FS Model. The 8-seater had a bucket seat on the front row and forward facing seat in the last row – thereby making the seating configuration as 2+3+3. The GS model was equipped with a side cladding/fender and even a classy looking aluminium footboard. It was also available in a choice of 3 metallic colors i.e silver, maroon and teal. Power steering and a/c were standard on the GS. Although other options such as power windows, locks were also offered as options across the GS range.
The Grand Saloon-Touring was introduced a few months later and was priced at around 9+ lakhs. This was the top-of-the-line Qualis which had all the bells and whisltes. Power steering and windows, Checquered flag decals, alloy wheels, bull-bar with integrated fog lamps, dual A/C, Central locking, De-fogger, Rear spoiler and wiper.
We hope you liked our series and do drop in a mail at email@example.com for feedback and also share which models you’d want to see further. – Auto Punditz