Maruti Suzuki will be supplying 30,000-50,000 units of the Baleno premium hatchback and Vitara Brezza subcompact SUV to Toyota
Toyota and Suzuki’s strategic partnership has India as a prominent market for growth potential. The automotive giants will leverage each other’s advantages and get benefitted by them in a similar fashion to the Mahindra-Ford relationship that has plenty of significance for the future. However, Toyota and Suzuki are indeed going a couple of notches further and will supply mutually beneficial cars to one another from next year.
But, how will they achieve it in such a short notice? The practice applies to several emerging markets across the globe as they will make for 60 percent of global automotive sales in 2021. Toyota has established itself as a strong player in developed markets but to have an expanded footprint, the partnership with Suzuki carries all the more importance.
In the flourishing markets like India, Brazil and Russia Toyota does not have considerable market share. Focussing on India, Maruti Suzuki’s stronghold of nearly 50 percent market share and popularity have led the domestic arm to be a significant sales contributor for parent Suzuki Motor Corp.,
Capitalising on the local resources, Maruti Suzuki has now reported to be supplying between 30,000 and 50,000 units of the Baleno premium hatchback and Vitara Brezza subcompact SUV to Toyota. In return, Toyota will provide 10,000 units of the Corolla midsize sedan in hybrid and petrol guises to Maruti Suzuki.
Operating under the OEM basis, this will enable Toyota to extract more out of its domestic production facility and increase market share by essentially rebadging Baleno and Vitara Brezza in the respective segments. The premium hatchback space is currently led by Baleno with monthly average sales of 10,000 units and the same can be said for Vitara Brezza in its subcompact class.
While recent reports suggest that a brand new hybrid version of the S-Cross has been shelved, Maruti Suzuki will utilise the engineering prowess of Toyota and expand its domestic eco-friendly offerings. By the end of this decade, the leading automaker in the country also plans to roll out electric vehicles with technical expertise from Toyota.
Toyota is also expected to sell Maruti Suzuki made EVs in India. The first line of products formed from the cooperation is expected to be launched by the middle parts of next year. The main objective in the joint venture is to cut the capital expenditure and money spent on research and development. However, the rebadged versions will have distinctive characters of their own.
The Toyota versions of the Baleno and Vitara Brezza will more likely have same mechanical underpinnings and powertrain options as well. As for the exterior, Toyota is expected to incorporate its latest global design language into both the models for boasting an exclusive presence. Perhaps the FT-AC concept could give away the styling of the subcompact SUV? Whether the product sharing technique will work out? We would have to wait patiently for a year and find out!
The Maruti Suzuki hybrid sedan based on the Corolla could fill the flagship space the Kizashi failed to meet and it could be sold from Nexa premium sales outlets. One thing for certain is that having cars in premium hatchback and sub-4m SUV segments may aid Toyota to increase its market share in no time considering the brand proposition among customers.
Speculations go on to say that both companies will work on setting up charging stations, training technicians for after-sales service and support of the EVs and required battery treatment after end of its lifespan. Under this partnership, we could see the launch of small EVs from Maruti Suzuki taking advantage of its reputation in the small car space.
The electric vehicles are expected to use lithium-ion battery packs as energy source and they could be manufactured at Suzuki’s battery plant in Gujarat. Moreover, the electric motors and other major components will reportedly be locally produced to keep the car pricing highly competitive and to have first-mover advantage.