Hiroyuki Fukui, who is the Managing officer of Toyota Kirloskar Motors, has just said that Suzuki is the Master of India, and Toyota can learn a lot from his fellow Japanese automaker.
Here is the exact statement Mr. Fukui made on the sidelines of the Tokyo Motor Show, which is happening right now,
Suzuki is the master of small cars and we are the students. There is so much we can learn from them. I’m not part of the discussion, but if the partnership fructifies, there is much to gain from Suzuki. We have just announced the collaboration but we do not rush to make a conclusion so we know each other and what is a good point, what Toyota would like to do, what Suzuki would like to do, it will be a win-win solution.
As the statement reveals, Toyota is in talks with Suzuki for a partnership that will not only involve small cars but also electric vehicles. In this partnership, Suzuki is expected to teach Toyota about how to sell small cars in the Indian market while the latter will help the former to develop electric vehicle technology. Suzuki, Toyota and Denso (a Japanese automotive supplier owned by Toyota) are setting a lithium ion battery plant at Gujarat.
In India, Maruti Suzuki is the leader in small cars, and has more than 50 % of the market. Toyota is dominant in the MPV, luxury sedan and luxury SUV segments but has been unable to crack the small car market despite being the biggest automaker in the world. Toyota’s small cars like the Etios and Liva are now bought mainly by cab operators are family buyers no longer seem interested in these boring-looking but functional and reliable cars.
The Toyota-Suzuki partnership has also led to Toyota dumping plans of bringing the Daihatsu budget brand to India, to compete against Maruti Suzuki. Instead, Daihatsu will now focus on South East Asian markets such as Indonesia and Thailand. For India, Toyota may partner with Suzuki to launch new cars in the budget segments below that of the Corolla Altis and Innova Crysta.