Toyota’s ambition to introduce 8-seater versions of its popular MPVs, the Innova Crysta and Innova Hycross, in India has hit a roadblock with a recent government decision.
The Indian government has imposed a ban on registering 8-seater vehicles as private vehicles, limiting their usage to commercial purposes or as taxis.
8 Seater Cars Cannot Be “Private”: New Government Decision
Effective from May 22, 2023, the Parivahan website, owned by the Indian government, has stopped accepting registration requests for vehicles with eight seats or more as private vehicles. However, registrations for these vehicles as taxis or commercial vehicles are still permitted.
To accommodate vehicles with eight or more seats, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has created a new category called “Omnibus” under the “Transport” classification, mandating an annual fitness certificate for vehicles falling under this category.
Toyota now faces the challenge of adapting its plans for the 8-seater versions of the Innova Crysta and Innova Hycross. Presently, both MPVs are available in standard 7-seater configurations, with the top-spec variants featuring a 6-seater layout equipped with captain seats in the middle row.
Private Buyers Cant Buy 8 Seater Cars Like Innova
As a result of the government’s ruling, private car buyers will no longer be able to purchase the 8-seater variants, which will be exclusively reserved for commercial owners or cab operators. It remains to be seen whether Toyota will offer the 8-seater versions across its entire lineup or limit them to base-spec variants. Typically, cab operators and commercial fleet owners opt for base-spec variants to maximize utility and minimize costs.
The Innova Hycross, positioned as a more premium MPV compared to the Innova Crysta, offers two powertrain options: a 2.0-litre naturally-aspirated petrol engine and a 2.0-litre petrol-electric hybrid powertrain. In contrast, the Innova Crysta is currently available solely as a diesel MPV, featuring a 2.4-litre diesel engine and a 6-speed manual transmission.
Toyota will need to reevaluate its plans and find ways to navigate the changing landscape of 8-seater vehicles in India’s market. Adapting to the government’s ruling while considering the preferences and demands of potential buyers will be crucial in determining the success of the 8-seater variants of the Innova Crysta and Innova Hycross.