Kingfisher and Toyota

Toyota has landed a sponsorship deal with Kingfisher Airlines, the low-cost domestic airline launched in 2005 by Vijay Mallya.

Mallya has long been an avid racing fan who has been involved in the running of Indian motorsport in recent years. India is obviously a very important market for Toyota and there have already been promotional links between Toyota and Kingfisher in the course of the last year. In addition to that Kingfisher knows the value of F1 as the company used to be a sponsor of Benetton back in the 1990s.

Money is obviously not a problem as Mallya's UB Group has a 47% share of the beer business in India and a market value of around $2bn. Mallya has been running the company since the death of his father in 1983 and has long had ambitions to turn Kingfisher into a global superbrand, along the lines of Richard Branson's Virgin company. The company is also involved in real estate development in Bangalore where there is a new development called UB City and is involved in the export of footwear, processed foods, pharmaceutical products, perfume and beverages. It also owns an engineering company which specializes in building industrial plants.

The only slight problem for Kingfisher is that Britain's Kingfisher plc is itself a strong global company as Europe's leading home improvement retail group and the third largest in the world with annual sales of around $15bn.

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