Toyota badged Baleno is expected to have exterior and interior changes while retaining the powertrain options as its donor
Automobile manufacturers are exploring new opportunities through partnerships of future importance as they try to take advantage of each other’s potential for long term sustainability. In the same context, Suzuki and Toyota’s agreement holds plenty of significance for foreign markets as well as India.
Toyota Kirloskar Motor will be supplied with Maruti Suzuki Baleno and Vitara Brezza, and they will be rebadged and sold under Toyota’s dealerships. In return, Toyota will be supplying Corolla to Maruti Suzuki and it will be positioned as the flagship D-segment sedan from the largest automaker in the country.
Maruti Suzuki Baleno is the best-selling premium hatchback in the country and it competes against the likes of Hyundai Elite i20, Honda Jazz and Volkswagen Polo. The Toyota-badged Baleno will certainly help in the brand expanding its reach into volume segments, as Etios and Liva have struggled to garner big volumes over the year.
Moreover, the Toyota premium hatchback is reported to use the same 1.2-litre K series petrol and 1.3-litre DDiS Fiat-sourced diesel engine from the Baleno with similar power and torque outputs. The latter is uncertain considering that it will not be upgraded to meet BSVI emission norms. We can expect Toyota to introduce exterior and interior changes to have a differentiation over its donor.
Additionally, due to the already high localisation, the Toyota Baleno will likely be priced aggressively in the Indian market against competition. Maruti Suzuki will reportedly be supplying 20,000 to 25,000 units of the Baleno to Toyota per year. Its official launch is expected to happen during the first half of next financial year (April 2019 and September 2019 period).
Both five-speed manual and five-speed AMT transmission found in the Baleno are believed to be made available in the Toyota Baleno. Less than a year ago, Suzuki and Toyota signed agreement regarding wide area of development including new vehicles, hybrid technology and the all-important zero-emission mobility.