Toyota drives India sales on Maruti Suzuki rebadged wheels

With over 50% sales coming from tie-up, Toyota Kirloskar Motor attracting a new set of customers

Toyota drives India sales on Maruti Suzuki rebadged wheels

The tie-up between Suzuki and Toyota has started paying dividends to the latter’s Indian division in terms of sales. In July, Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) sold 19,693 cars in the domestic market — its highest-ever sales in a single month — registering 50% growth  compared to the figure in July 2021.

Automotive analysts FE spoke with said without the help of Maruti Suzuki, TKM wouldn’t have reached the milestone.Consider this: In July 2022, TKM sold 9,939 units of the Glanza and Urban Cruiser (these are the rebadged versions of Maruti Suzuki Baleno and Vitara Brezza, respectively), and 9,754 units of the Innova Crysta, Hilux, Fortuner, Legender, Camry and Vellfire (Toyota’s ‘own’ cars) put together.On May 28, 2018, in Tokyo, Toyota Motor Corporation and Suzuki Motor Corporation agreed to start discussing new joint projects in the fields of technological development, vehicle production and market development.

The same day they announced mutual supply of vehicles for the Indian market to benefit both TKM and Maruti Suzuki.The first car under that joint venture was the Glanza (launched on June 6, 2019), and second was the Urban Cruiser (launched on September 23, 2020).Till July 2022, TKM had sold 140,317 units of both (78,694 units of the Glanza and 61,623 units of the Urban Cruiser).

Of these, more than 65% Glanza customers are first-time Toyota buyers, and a whopping 95% of Urban Cruiser SUVs have been bought by non-Toyota customers.“Both these cars have given TKM an entirely new set of customers, who may not have otherwise entered the Toyota family because TKM earlier didn’t have a car at a price point they could buy,” Tadashi Asazuma, executive vice-president, sales & customer service, TKM, had recently told FE.

A Toyota dealer from Delhi NCR added that even though the Indian customer knows that the Glanza and the Urban Cruiser are rebadged Maruti Suzuki cars, “she is able to enter the Toyota family at a lower price point”.An automotive analyst, who has consulted with both Maruti Suzuki and TKM, told FE that, on its own, TKM could have sold only half the number, which it did.

“TKM sold 9,754 units of its ‘own’ cars in July 2022, which is 49.5% of its sales,” he said. “While its models like the Innova Crysta and the Fortuner have solid demand in their niche segments (premium MPV and full-size SUV, respectively), the carmaker doesn’t have any ‘volume’ models in India. Its only small hatchback, the Etios Liva, was discontinued when the BS6 emission norms were implemented April 1, 2020, onwards, as did its sedans, the Corolla Altis and Etios.

”He added that the partnership will only strengthen henceforth, helping boost sales of both the carmakers.TKM and Maruti Suzuki have started production of a new sport utility vehicle (SUV) at the former’s manufacturing facility at Bidadi, near Bengaluru. First the Toyota-branded Urban Cruiser Hyryder will be launched followed by the Maruti Suzuki-badged Grand Vitara. Both these SUV models will have mild-hybrid (developed by Suzuki) and strong-hybrid (developed by Toyota) engine options, and will rival Hyundai Creta and Kia Seltos, among others.Eventually, 2025 onwards, Toyota and Suzuki are expected to manufacture compact electric cars for India as well as for export.

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