Toyota Kirloskar Motor could introduce the badge-engineered version of the Maruti Suzuki Baleno by the second half of FY2019-20, which will see the product with new features and appearance over the Suzuki model.
Japanese car maker Toyota tied up with Maruti Suzuki in 2017 and as part of the collaboration, the companies will be exchanging technologies and vehicles to be badge engineered. Now, we know that the Maruti Suzuki Baleno, Vitara Brezza and the Toyota Corolla will be the initial models to be shared between the companies but a timeline for launch is yet to be confirmed. Now, a PTI report suggests that Toyota India will be bringing its version of the Baleno hatchback to the market in the second half of 2019-2020 financial year. The Toyota badged Baleno will not only carry a new name but new features as well that will make it unique when compared to the Suzuki badged model.
Quoting sources close to Toyota India, the report says, “In the second half of next fiscal, Toyota will launch its version of Baleno. There will be external tweaks for a different look but it will be more like the existing one.” That being said, an official confirmation on the launch timeline from Toyota Kirloskar Motor is yet to be announced.
Speaking on the launch details, Toyota India – Vice President, Atsushi Oki was quoted saying, “Under the Toyota-Suzuki tieup, each company will sell mutually supplied vehicles under their own respective brands and nameplates. Beyond that, at this point in time, we are not in a position to discuss further details such as vehicle specifications of our future product plans.” The collaboration will not only help either companies to bring more products to the market but also help Toyota achieve higher cost efficiencies in India with enhanced component localisation for its products.
It’s unclear how differently the Toyota badged Baleno would be positioned compared to the Suzuki model. The Maruti Suzuki Baleno was a runaway success for its maker thanks to a competitive price tag, abundant list of features and frugal engine options. Elaborating on the pricing strategy, Oki said, “We understand the price sensitivity of Indian market. We will continue to keep up the price momentum in these directions. At this point in time, details on pricing are under discussion.”
The Toyota and Suzuki partnership extends not only to sharing vehicles but also technological development, vehicles production and market development. An MoU signed in November 2017 further expanded the partnership to consider a cooperative structure for introducing battery powered electric vehicles.
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