Japanese auto majors Toyota Motor Corporation and Suzuki Motor Corporation will soon start the production of a new SUV model, which will be developed by Suzuki at the Toyota Kirloskar Motor facility from August 2022. Maruti Suzuki India Ltd., India’s largest passenger vehicle maker, and Toyota Kirloskar will market the new model in the country as Suzuki and Toyota models, respectively.

Toyota and Suzuki signed a memorandum of understanding for a business alliance in 2017. Under this cross-badging deal, both companies decided to sell each other's cars in countries, including India. In the country, Maruti supplied some of its best models like Baleno and Vitara Brezza to Toyota, while Toyota allowed Maruti to sell popular models like Corolla. The deal helped Toyota in strengthening its presence in the small car market and helped Suzuki to expand its product range to the executive sedan segment.

"Toyota and Suzuki are promoting the mutual supply of vehicles globally, which is one of the collaborations in the business partnership, and the two companies will now start production of a new SUV model developed by Suzuki at Toyota Kirloskar Motor Pvt. Ltd. (TKM) from August," says Maruti Suzuki in a stock exchange statement.

Toyota president Akio Toyoda says by leveraging the respective strengths of Toyota and Suzuki to provide Indian customers with a variety of options, the two companies hope to contribute to the reduction of CO2 emissions. Suzuki president Toshihiro Suzuki says the production of the new SUV at Toyota Kirloskar Motor is a project that can contribute to the growth of India by providing eco-friendly mobility needed by customers.

He also hinted at further collaborations in the industry. "We appreciate the support from Toyota, and at the same time, will explore new synergy and business opportunities through continuous collaboration.”

The two companies have been bringing together Toyota’s strength in electrification technologies and Suzuki’s strength in technologies for compact vehicles for joint partnership in production and in the popularisation of electrified vehicles, it adds. Apart from India, the two companies are also planning to export the new model to Africa as well.

The company says the powertrains of the new model, to be on sale in India, will be equipped with a mild-hybrid developed by Suzuki and a strong hybrid developed by Toyota. "By bringing together strengths of both Toyota and Suzuki through the collaboration, the two companies will be able to provide a wide variety of vehicle electrification technologies to customers and contribute to the acceleration of electrification and the realisation of a carbon-neutral society in India," says the statement.

Maruti says by investing in the expansion of collaboration in India, Toyota and Suzuki are committed to achieving the “Make in India” initiative promoted by the government.

Notably, cross-badging is a practice in the auto industry where the same car is sold with some cosmetic changes under a different brand name. For instance, Nissan Micra and Renault Pulse are basically the same products. So are Volkswagen's Vento and Skoda Rapid. Automakers do this to boost sales or to expand into a different market segment.

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