Toyota & Suzuki to jointly develop new MPV: Mahindra Marazzo rival?

Toyota and Suzuki are taking thier partnership a step further. The two Japanese automakers will co-develop a new MPV, which is likely to be a monocoque offering. This jointly developed MPV will be manufactured by Toyota and supplied to Suzuki, who is expected to badge-engineer the vehicle.

Toyota Avanza
Toyota Avanza used to illustrate

Toyota and Suzuki will sell this MPV in their respective showrooms in India. What remains to be seen though is whether this MPV will replace the Toyota Innova Crysta, or if it will sit in between the Ertiga and Innova Crysta in terms of positioning. It’s likely to rival the Mahindra Marazzo.

There’s a large gap that exists between the Ertiga and Innova Crysta. While the Maruti Ertiga’s prices start from Rs. 7.44 lakhs, those of the Toyota Innova start from Rs. 14.83 lakhs. This means that there’s a price gap more than Rs. 7 lakhs between the two MPVs, or in other words, a perfect opportunity exists for Maruti and Toyota to bring in another MPV to fill this gap. Also, this is the very gap where the Mahindra Marazzo operates. The new MPV is likely to be here sometime in 2022-23, which means that it’s a good 3-4 years away.

A diesel engine is unlikely on the new MPV, which could adopt a petrol-hybrid layout, and also offer a full-electric option. By then, petrol-hybrids are likely to become similarly priced as diesels, which will soon get costlier thanks to the upcoming Bharat Stage 6 (BS6) emission norms, which will require expensive emission control equipment.

Apart from the MPV Suzuki and Toyota will develop, both automakers will launch a range of other vehicles. Maruti will supply the Baleno and Vitara Brezza to Toyota. Toyota will badge engineer both vehicles and sell them in Indian and African markets. In return, Toyota will supply the 2020 Corolla Altis to Maruti Suzuki, for badge engineering and selling from the NEXA range of showrooms.

This partnership has now expanded to include the Maruti Ciaz and Ertiga as two other cars that Toyota will badge engineer and sell in the Indian market. The MPV that we discussed above in this story will be an all-new model though, and probably the first jointly engineered vehicle from Suzuki and Toyota for the Indian market. Toyota will also supply petrol-hybrid technology to Suzuki for use in a range of cars.

The two automakers will also co-operate for electric vehicles. Maruti is all set to launch the WagonR Electric next year, and Toyota us expected to follow soon with an electric vehicle of its own. Denso – a parts maker owned by Toyota – is in a tie-up with Suzuki for making lithium ion batteries in Sanand, Gujarat. Meanwhile, Osamu Suzuki, the Chairman of Suzuki, had this to say about the alliance,

At the time we announced our scope of cooperation in May last year, I spoke that we will strive for success globally. I have seen progress in the partnership since then, and it is my pleasure to be able to make this announcement today regarding the status of partnership on a global basis, including Europe and Africa. In addition, we appreciate the kind offer from Toyota to let us make use of their hybrid technology. We will continue our utmost efforts.

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