Rebadged Maruti Suzuki Ciaz might not be called Toyota Belta

Toyota is planning to launch a rebadged version of Maruti Suzuki Ciaz with the Belta name but the company's request to register the name has met objection. Could this mean that the company will have to consider a new name for their upcoming sedan?

By:Updated: Apr 21, 2021 12:58 PM
Toyota Belta trademark rejected for upcoming Maruti Suzuki Ciaz rebadge

As part of the partnership between Toyota and Suzuki, the two companies share technologies and other resources globally. In India, Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) has found some success by rebadging some Maruti Suzuki vehicles and selling them. There is news of the next product in this line being a rebadged version of Maruti Suzuki Ciaz. Toyota even filed a trademark for the name “Belta” and since then reports of the rebadged Ciaz being called Belta have been doing the rounds. But Toyota might not get to keep that name. 

Toyota Yaris Rec

Toyota has already been selling the Yaris sedan in India since 2018. It is a more premium vehicle compared to the Ciaz but also commands a higher price and has seen lesser sales compared to its rivals. It is possible that the company might bring in the rebadged Ciaz and discontinue Yaris. The Belta moniker has already been used by the company since 2005. In fact, the Belta subcompact sedan was later sold as Yaris in certain international markets. So, it makes sense for the TKM to use the same name here in India and the Japanese carmaker has also filed a trademark for the same.  

However, things might not be that easy for the company. While they have applied to register the name Belta, the petition is under objection as of now. According to the official circular, TKM cannot use the name Belta because “the mark is identical with or similar to earlier marks in respect of identical or similar description of goods or services and because of such identity or similarity there exists a likelihood of confusion on the part of the public.” Basically, the government authorities believe that the name Belta is too similar to other entities that already exist in the Indian market and could cause confusion.  

Toyota Belta rebadge trademark

While TKM has sent their replies regarding these concerns, the official verdict is yet to arrive. Toyota got in trouble for registering the Prius trademark in India way back in 2009 and eventually could not win the case. Toyota had raised objection against a spare parts manufacturer called Prius Auto Industries for using the Prius name for their benefit. Even though Toyota had been using the Prius name since 1990, the company only filed a case in 2009. Even though the brand and the name were known globally, territoriality principle dictated that the local company that had been using the Prius name since 2002 should be allowed to use it. Hence, with regards to the Belta name, things could swing either way.  

As part of the partnership between TKM and MSIL, Toyota has already launched the Glanza and Urban Cruiser which are rebadged versions of Maruti Suzuki’s Baleno and Vitara Brezza respectively. Once launched, the Belta (if it retains the name) will come with the same engine and transmission as the Ciaz. The Maruti Suzuki Ciaz is powered by a 1.5-litre petrol engine that makes 103hp and 138Nm of peak torque. It comes with the choice of a 5-speed manual and a 4-speed automatic.  

Maruti Suzuki Ciaz side

In terms of exterior design and styling, Toyota’s version of the sedan would not look too different from Ciaz. Just like the Glanza and Urban Cruiser, Toyota could give Belta a redesigned front grille and alloy wheels. The interior would look similar to the Ciaz as well, albeit with Toyota badging on the steering wheel. Currently, the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz is sold through Nexa dealerships for a starting price of Rs 8.52 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) and we expect the Toyota model to demand a small premium over this amount.

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