Toyota Motor Corporation and Suzuki Motor Corporation officially come together under a new business partnership in November 2017. The Japanese auto manufacturers had first announced the intention to collaborate over new ideas back in October 2016.
Since then, the two companies have been exploring concrete projects for collaboration in areas including environmental technology, safety technology, information technology, and the mutual supply of products and components.
Earlier in March 2018, Toyota and Suzuki entered into a cross-badging agreement in India for a mutual supply of hybrid and other vehicles. As per the agreement, Suzuki will supply the Baleno and Vitara models to Toyota, while Toyota will supply the Corolla model to Suzuki.
Later in May 2018, Toyota and Suzuki announced more details of their partnership. According to which Toyota will build Suzuki cars at its plant in India, whereas Suzuki will be developing an ‘ultra-high-efficiency’ powertrain, with technological support from Toyota and Denso Corporation. The engine will belong to a new family and will be available in both petrol and hybrid setup.
Now further details regarding their collaboration have surfaced. Maruti Suzuki is all set to introduce a brand new, 1.5 liter K-Series engine with a mild hybrid system on the upcoming Ciaz facelift. This engine, which was first seen in the all-new 2018 Ertiga MPV launched in Indonesia recently, produces 106 PS and 138 Nm. Variable valve timing is standard on this engine, which also gets a mild hybrid system that assists the engine during acceleration, thereby reducing fuel consumption and lowering emissions. Reportedly Toyota is said to be planning this engine for its next-generation Corolla Altis sedan.
However instead of a mild-hybrid system, the Corolla Altis with the new Suzuki 1.5 liter engine is likely to get a full hybrid system that supports and supplements the petrol engine. The hybrid system is meant to make up for the smaller engine on the next-generation Corolla Altis, making it cleaner, and more fuel efficient than the outgoing model.
Toyota will in turn provide the Corolla Altis Hybrid to Maruti, which will sell it as a premium Suzuki sedan. The badge-engineered Suzuki Altis Hybrid, will receive a major stylistic change at the front and rear.
Not only this, Toyota is likely to use its factory in Bangalore to manufacture the Maruti Altis Hybrid to make sure that Toyota runs its factory at full steam, using up unused capacity for the manufacturing of badge-engineered cars.
It is worth to mention that Suzuki models would also be exported from India to Africa and other international markets and will be sold through both Toyota’s and Suzuki’s respective outlets, thus extending the cross-sharing arrangement globally.
It will be too early to predict the impact of Toyota and Suzuki’s collaboration on our market. However if the experiment goes successful in India and Africa, no wonder we might also be able to see the cross-badged Toyota and Suzuki cars in Pakistan somewhere down the line.