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[MUMBAI] Toyota Motor Corp is set to bring its premium Lexus brand to India more than two decades after introducing the marque in China, an acknowledgment of the second-most populous country's growing potential as a source of luxury demand.
Lexus is scheduled to hold an event in New Delhi on Friday, where it's expected to announce the entry of the brand to India.
Rising income levels have helped almost double passenger-vehicle sales in India over the last 10 years, according to Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers data.
Even so, deliveries are about a tenth of neighbouring China, a country with a comparable population of more than a billion people.
As a newcomer, Lexus will have to compete with the German trio of Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz for luxury buyers. Toyota is bringing its upscale brand to India at a time when carmakers are warning of slowing demand in major auto markets including the US, Europe and Japan.
Toyota is also discussing with Suzuki Motor Corp about promoting manufacturing in India with the potential to export Indian-made new-technology vehicles, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's office said this month.
India is encouraging investments under a "Make in India" program, which seeks to ease business dealings and boost local manufacturing by overseas companies. Volkswagen AG plans to team up with Tata Motors Ltd on joint projects in India, renewing the German automaker's push to boost its presence in emerging markets after previous efforts failed to gain traction.
France's PSA Group also plans to start producing and selling vehicles in Asia's third-biggest auto market.