Baleno to be first Suzuki-Toyota cross breed in India
06 August 2018
Japanese auto makers Suzuki and Toyota are taking their cross-badging collaboration in India to next level with Maruti Suzuki getting ready to invest around Rs7,000 crore in Toyota Kirloskar Motor’s Bidadi plant near Bengaluru.
Part of the investment will go towards refurbishing the plant to suit Maruti’s production requirements. Maruti Suzuki will also supply roughly 25,000 Maruti Baleno premium hatchbacks to Toyota Motor Corp every year.
Baleno will thus become the first Maruti car to be sold as a Toyota in India.
Being the largest car maker, and also the fastest car maker in the country, Maruti knows how to build its cars efficiently.
Toyota will also be selling the Maruti Baleno premium hatchback and the Vitara Brezza compact SUV through its network of dealerships. The first Baleno with the Toyota logo will be launched in the first quarter of the next financial year.
The Baleno that will be sold by Toyota Motor Corp will get some cosmetic changes to have its own identity. The exterior is likely to come with a new set of bumpers, a new grille, and updated headlamps and tail lights. Even the interior will get some changes.
Reports quoting sources close to the developments said the changes to be made have already been approved and both the companies have already decided on the number of vehicles to be supplied.
Toyota currently operates through the joint venture Toyota Kirloskar Motors and doesn’t have any major investment plans until 2020. Since Baleno is a product which is being exported to other countries, including Japan, there will be no issue regarding quality either.
Toyota’s Bidadi facility has an installed capacity of 3 lakh units per year, of which only 50 per cent is being utilized. Officials of both Japanese manufacturers have reportedly visited Bidadi site to assess capability of further investment.
In addition to refurbishing the plant, Maruti will also bring its entourage of suppliers to Karnataka’s Japanese Industrial Township located at Tumakuru. This will increase direct and indirect employment in the state.
Maruti Suzuki currently operates 3 production facilities in India (2 in Haryana, 1 in Gujarat) and the Bidadi plant would help the company have a better reach among South Indian customers. The automaker is reported to commence production of most of its models at Bidadi by 2022. The two models which Toyota will be selling under their badge are Vitara Brezza and Baleno. Both these cars will be produced at the Toyota plant.
Teams from Toyota and Maruti are working together on various aspects of cross-badging partnership which will see Toyota gaining access to Maruti’s best selling products like Baleno and Vitara Brezza, and Maruti taking advantage of its compatriot’s hybrid and electric vehicle technology besides gaining permission to sell the Corolla sedan with Maruti Suzuki badging.
A co-engineered product is also said to be in the works, according to unconfirmed reports.
Rivals at home and in several segments of the Indian market, the two Japanese carmakers were forced to come together to explore all possible synergies that would help both to achieve significant cost savings in the long run and fend off rivals in a highly competitive market.