Maruti Suzuki and Toyota are in an alliance in India, which entails selling badge engineering vehicles, joint product development and sharing technology. The Japanese car makers are now tying up for a new compact SUV that will sit above the Vitara Brezza and the Urban Cruiser (the rebadged version of the Vitara Brezza). Code-named D22, the new crossover is expected to occupy the space between the likes of the Maruti Vitara Brezza and the Hyundai Creta. It could be a replacement to the Maruti Suzuki S-Cross, which is reaching the end of its product lifecycle. The D22 crossover will be built at Toyota’s Bidadi factory while Maruti Suzuki is likely to handle most of the component sourcing to keep costs competitive. The timeline for the new Toyota-Maruti crossover’s launch has yet to be revealed. We expect it to hit the market in 2-3 years.
The new crossover that Toyota is developing is likely to be shared with Maruti Suzuki. A hybrid powertrain is likely as Toyota has dumped diesel car technology worldwide, in favour of hybrid and electric vehicles. Maruti Suzuki – for its part – has also steered clear from diesel cars across most segments, choosing to deploy petrol and petrol-hybrid cars.
SUVs/crossovers are the current rage in the Indian market, with nearly every car maker betting big on this category of cars. Toyota entered this segment recently by rebranding the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza, and launching it under the Urban Cruiser name plate. The Urban Cruiser is doing reasonably well for a badge engineered vehicle, and Toyota is expected to badge engineer the Maruti Suzuki XL6 6 seat crossover next.
As for Maruti Suzuki, the automaker is doing very well with the Vitara Brezza sub-4 meter compact SUV, which is the best seller in the segment. The automaker is said to be working on a replacement to the S-Cross, which could very well be the D22 that Toyota is also working on. Maruti Suzuki also has the S-Cross in its line-up, a crossover that is bringing in good sales numbers.
Competition has risen. The Vitara Brezza now has to deal with a range of sub-4 meter compact SUVs, most of which are a lot more contemporary. The likes of the Hyundai Venue, Kia Sonet and the just-launched Nissan Magnite continue to put pressure on the Brezza while the S-Cross now sits half a segment lower than the likes of the Kia Seltos and the all-new Hyundai Creta. Clearly, there’s more space for a couple of more SUVs as far as Maruti Suzuki is concerned.
We expect Maruti Suzuki and Toyota to tie hands and produce more SUVs and crossovers in the affordable segments for the Indian car market. Toyota’s mainstay has been the Innova Crysta MPV and the Fortuner luxury SUV. However, the rebadged Maruti cars such as the Glanza premium hatchback and the Urban Cruiser compact SUV have worked well to boost volumes. In fact, more than 40 % of Toyota’s sales now come from the Glanza and the Urban Cruiser.