Earlier this week Suzuki unveiled its Toyota RAV4-based plugin-hybrid SUV called the ACross. Toyota and Suzuki officially come together under a new business partnership in November 2017. The auto manufacturers had first announced the intention to collaborate over new ideas back in October 2016.
In March 2019, Toyota and Suzuki announced a plan to collaborate on the production of compact cars and electric/hybrid vehicles to help improve sales and economies of scale. Last August the two automakers agreed on a capital tie in which Toyota would take a 4.94% stake in Suzuki at a cost of JPY96bn (US$899m) with Suzuki investing JPY48bn in Toyota. The collaboration also includes mutual supply of products as well as combining Toyota’s electrification technologies with Suzuki’s expertise in compact vehicles.
Last year Toyota started to sell Suzuki cars in Kenya whereas the partnership has already spawned the Toyota Glanza in Indian market which is a rebadged Suzuki Baleno. According to reports there are more products in the pipeline including the Vitara Brezza, Ertiga as well as Ciaz to be used by Toyota whereas Suzuki will get its hands on the Corolla variants. A Suzuki Altis was also in works to be introduced in the Indian market, however with Toyota putting an end to Corolla in India, chances of Suzuki’s Altis becoming a reality have become slim.
Now with Suzuki ACross having made its debut, it is being reported that the next Toyota product in the pipeline for the European markets to be sold under Suzuki’s umbrella will be the 12th gen Corolla Estate, which is best known as Corolla Touring in various markets. Like RAV4-based ACross, the Suzuki’s version of Corolla Touring will utilize new Corolla’s hybrid powerplant and will help Suzuki compete better in EU markets where most of its cars were forced to be discontinued including the hot-selling Jimny mini SUV due to stricter emission regulations in European countries.
Reportedly Suzuki will offer its small engines for Toyota’s compact cars which will sure bring out some interesting mix of vehicles in future. Depending on the market, plenty of Suzuki and Toyota cars are likely to be cross-badged in future. While the vehicles will share technical aspects under the skin, they will aesthetically differentiate from each other just the way Suzuki ACross differs itself from the donor Toyota RAV4.
Related: What’s Cooking at Toyota Indus?
It will be quite interesting to see how this partnership will cast its effects on the performance of these two Japanese carmakers in Pakistani market, especially in wake of the upcoming competition.