Alongside electrification, Toyota is also looking at exploring the possibilities of launching CNG cars in India by taking advantage of MSIL
Toyota and Suzuki are indulged in mutually beneficial partnership with global as well as Indian markets in India. While Toyota is sharing its hybrid vehicle expertise gulped through years of learning, Suzuki, in return, is utilising its local manufacturing prowess in India for OEM supply of its popular vehicles that will be rebadged.
The first rebadged product, Toyota Glanza, was introduced in June 2019 and more vehicles are in line pipeline as the Ertiga, Vitara Brezza and Ciaz will undergo similar treatment. Recently, Shigeki Terashi, Executive Vice-President, Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) said that India is one of the countries his brand has in mind for BEVs (Battery Electric Vehicles).
He further said a compact electric vehicle is co-developed with Suzuki and it is at an early stage without commenting on the launch timeline. The first EV from Maruti Suzuki based on JDM-spec Wagon R is expected to be introduced sometime next year costing at around Rs. 12 lakh and whether the hatchback will be supplied to Toyota or not is subjected to speculations.
Exploring the partnership on a wider scale, Toyota and Suzuki could share CNG technology for use in India according to a recent report emerged on the internet. Maruti Suzuki already announced its intention to expand CNG portfolio before the inevitable switch to electrification. With small capacity diesel engines having shown the exit doors, Toyota could “look at introducing CNG vehicles in India”.
Since Suzuki is retailing CNG models in India, it could act as the “basis of discussion between the partners in the future”. Toyota is no stranger in selling CNG-powered vehicles in the global markets, but Maruti Suzuki could act as the main source to keep the production costs in check. In a nutshell, the idea is to source CNG variants of “shared vehicles from Maruti to gain the economies of scale..”.
Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL) will convert some of its small cars to run on CNG power where the potential is there. MSIL’s Chairman R C Bhargava told TOI recently that the company is inaugurating 10,000 CNG distribution outlets and the customers are accepting the alternative source of energy.