Toyota looks to be positioning the cars as competitive as Maruti Suzuki’s and that can be a difficult task on its own
More than a year after getting into grips with a MoU (Memorandum of Understanding), Toyota and Suzuki decided to break the shackles and embrace new opportunities in India – one of the largest growing automobile markets in the world that displaced Germany for fourth position in overall vehicle sales last calendar year.
The cross-badging technique is not new to the domestic market as global alliance partners Renault and Nissan have demonstrated how it’s effectively utilised since their entry. However, a similar announcement between Toyota and Suzuki at the end of March 2018 did come as a shocker. So what are the implications and the mutual benefits both companies would get?
The cross-badging deal is more essential for Toyota than for the largest automaker in the country, Maruti Suzuki. Although Toyota is a global leader in car sales, it has established itself as a premium brand in India instead of being a volume sales player. The deficiency can be addressed with new products in competitive segments.
Maruti Suzuki steps in here and will be supplying Vitara Brezza and Baleno to its Bengaluru-headquartered counterpart. The Toyota badged Vitara Brezza and Baleno will be launched next year and on paper the cooperation is destined for success as the highly-popular subcompact and premium hatchback segments result in Maruti Suzuki garnering nearly 20,000 unit sales a month on average.
However, the biggest concern will be the prices of Toyota badged models. Toyota looks to be positioning the cars as competitive as Maruti Suzuki’s and that can be a difficult task on its own. The Japanese auto major will be providing Maruti Suzuki with Corolla sedan in return and this enhances the utilization of its local production facility and helps the Indo-Japs in entering a new segment to compete Hyundai Elantra.
Toyota will be making changes on the visual as well as the interior fronts of its version of the Vitara Brezza and Baleno. Thus, we can expect the incorporation of its latest global design language rather than the bleak styling of the Etios twins as their underwhelming sales performance would have given a wakeup call.
Toyota is on the move already and said to be conducting customer feedbacks as the cross-badging would potentially lead to increased business for dealers. Can Toyota price its cross-badged products on par with Maruti Suzuki and more importantly will they have unique identity despite similar underpinnings? Have your say below!