Maruti Suzuki-Toyota mid-size SUV will likely carry high local content to be priced competitively against rivals like Hyundai Creta and Kia Seltos
Late last year, Maruti Suzuki stated in a regulatory filing about the revision in production plans of the Vitara Brezza compact SUV as a mid-size SUV has reportedly taken its place and it will be manufactured at Toyota’s production base in Bidadi, Karnataka. Unlike the rebadged Maruti Suzuki cars that are used by Toyota without much changes, the mid-size SUV will be quite different.
Set to be produced at Toyota’s second plant in Bidadi, where the Yaris and Camry Hybrid are currently rolled out, the mid-size SUV will be underpinned by Toyota’s DNGA platform that can be found in Toyota Raize and Daihatsu Rocky. Despite similar underpinnings, the mid-size SUV will be developed by each brand pertaining to their requirements.
Thus, they will have distinguishable exterior while the powertrain will more likely be a 1.5-litre four-cylinder K15B mild-hybrid petrol engine currently propelling the Vitara Brezza. In the compact SUV, it delivers 104.7 PS maximum power and 138 Nm of peak torque, and is paired with a five-speed manual or a four-speed torque converter automatic transmission.
It will be interesting to see whether there will be any increase in power and torque outputs or not. A more potent turbocharged petrol mill could also be made available while a diesel cannot be ruled out either. In Maruti Suzuki’s domestic lineup, it will slot above the Vitara Brezza and the joint development could help in minimising costs and price the model competitively.
The mid-size SUV segment is currently led by Hyundai and Kia courtesy of the Creta and Seltos respectively. The space has seen plenty of activity in recent years as it is highly sought after amongst customers. Maruti Suzuki and Toyota will be looking to make a strong impact in the mid-size class and the SUV is more crucial for their future prospects.
Toyota is already reaping the benefits of selling Glanza and Urban Cruiser as both have emerged as decent sellers for the Japanese manufacturer and the latter is produced alongside its donor, the Vitara Brezza, at MSIL’s Gurgaon plant in Haryana.
Pics for representational purpose only