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Vikram S Kirloskar: From Quails to Innova to Fortuner, the journey of Vikram who gave the original SUV to the country

New Delhi. Automobile industry veteran and Vice Chairman of Toyota Kirloskar Motor Limited Vikram Kirloskar passed away on Tuesday. With this, a long journey to bring the SUV trend in this country and make it successful also came to an end. Vikram, considered the face of Toyota in India, breathed his last in Bengaluru on Tuesday.

For 64 year old Vikram, it would not be wrong to say that he was the one who brought Toyota cars to India. During which only Tata’s Safari and before that two or three vehicles like Sierra were present in the market in the name of SUV. These cars were also not meant for common people. Only a few enthusiasts used to keep these vehicles. The main reason behind this was their high maintenance and high running cost. But Vikram changed this whole scenario.

Also read: Automobile industry veteran and Toyota Kirloskar VP Vikram Kirloskar passed away, breathed his last in Bengaluru

New era of MPV cum SUV in 1999

In 1999, when there was a period of budget cars in the country, the customers of luxury cars were also very few, let alone SUVs. In such a situation, Toyota introduced MPV cum SUV in a boxy design. This was Qualis. Suddenly big showrooms of Toyota started appearing all over the country. This was the era of Qualis. Seeing its boxy design, people rejected it at first. But the person who drove this vehicle during that time became a fan of it. It was a sturdy vehicle and excellent in mileage and maintenance. People started liking Qualis. Gradually, the situation became such that the Qualis became one of the best selling vehicles of the country. Vikram’s business idea and marketing strategy was behind this. Vikram introduced the Qualis as a family car and people loved it as such.

Then came the era of Innova

Qualis was not only sold, it was selling in such a way that suddenly the company stopped its production and overnight Qualis started decreasing from the showroom. With this, the Innova entered the market in 2005. Till now people were not used to or say they had seen the design of an 8 seater vehicle with an aerodynamic shape. Innova did not catch much sales figure for the first one year but Vikram did not give up. The Innova was promoted to fill the vacuum created by the discontinuation of the Qualis. Equipped with an improved engine, body line and technology, people started liking the Innova. In 2007, the Innova broke all sales records and the company sold over 5,000 units.

now hard core suv

Now was the time to give the country a hard core yet comfortable SUV. But the cost would have been high. Vikram did not give up even on this and this SUV entered the market as Fortuner. With its bulky design, strong road presence and stupendous performance, the Fortuner made its debut in 2009 and people immediately lapped up the car. This journey has continued since then and the 4th generation of Fortuner was awaited but Vikram left before that.

Tata’s Samadhi

Vikram’s daughter Mansi is married to Neville Tata, son of Ratan Tata’s half-brother Noel Tata. Vikram and Ratan Tata are friends. Vikram has also been the President of CII and Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers. He never liked to be in limelight. Page 3 Parties and get together were probably not for Vikram and he stayed away from them even after being counted among the country’s leading industrialists.

Was fond of golf and tennis

Vikram was fond of golf and tennis. He could easily be seen on the golf course in his spare time. Also he was fond of swimming. After doing engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he took over the reins of Kirloskar as the fourth generation.

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