In March 2018, Toyota Motor Corp. and Suzuki Motor Corp. agreed to sell each other’s cars in the Indian market through each other’s local dealership networks as part of the partnership between the two Japanese manufacturers.
The first car to be cross-badged will the be Baleno, a segment that Toyota has struggled to compete in with the Vitara Brezza to follow suit. Meanwhile, Toyota’s premium cars like the Corolla will sport Suzuki’s badge to help break into the expensive car segment with a model above the Ciaz.
These two first announced their business partnership in February 2017 and the cross-badging of models is part of an agreement towards the mutual supply of hybrid and other vehicles between them for the Indian market. Cross-badging isn’t a term either partner is willing to use and while the cars will be the same in terms of functionality, they will get minor cosmetic changes and tweaks for differentiation. This tactic hasn’t quite worked in the past when tried by Renault-Nissan for the Duster-Terrano or Scala-Sunny, but things could be different for Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. and Toyota Kirloskar Motor Pvt Ltd.
Further announcements in May 2018 revealed that Toyota Motor Corp. and Denso Corp. would transfer technology to Suzuki Motor Corp. to develop an ultra-high-efficiency powertrain for India and other markets, as reported by livemint. Both Toyota and Suzuki will also be working to jointly develop the African market leveraging each other’s sales, logistics and services network for models developed by Suzuki in India and produced by Toyota Kirloskar.
Electric and hybrid powertrains and vehicles are also a big part of the agreement and both plan to have more affordable versions of the tech ready for sale in India by 2020. What would a Toyota-badged Baleno have to offer to convince buyers to not get one from Maruti themselves? And the same question for a Suzuki-badged Corolla? Share your thoughts in the comments below and don’t forget to subscribe to The Auto Loons for plenty more to come.