Maruti and Toyota on today, announced that they will enter a mutual partnership for the Indian market. According to the agreement, Maruti will supply their popular models like Brezza and Baleno to Toyota, while the latter will provide Corolla for MSIL to modify and sell as one of their own.
The cars that they come up with will be aesthetically different from the parent model but will have significant similarities on the inside.
What’s in it for Maruti?
Maruti has been trying so hard for many years to make a mark in the premium sedan segment. They have managed to get a firm grasp of everything under Rs. 10 lakh, and now they are in the hunt for more. What they require is a reliable, good-looking sedan which has global appeal- somewhere the Kizashi failed and Corolla so magnificently succeeds.
The Toyota Corolla is one of the most selling models in the world. It doesn’t sell as much in India though, and the wider appeal of Maruti could bring more sales to its derivative. That’s probably a reason why Toyota doesn’t mind Maruti using it.
What about Toyota?
Toyota has two huge gaps in their lineup which they want to fill with great cars, as fast and economically as possible. That’s where Maruti Suzuki comes in. The latter helms some of the segments that Toyota wants to make headway in, specifically the premium hatchback and compact SUV space- two BIG markets right now. On launch, these Toyota-badged Maruti cars will be part of a new premium portfolio currently comprising of the Vios.
Will this work?
As I said in the title, all it seems like now is Maruti getting cocky from the sheer number of sales they are amassing and Toyota, well, they are just desperate. Toyota has at best achieved mediocre sales below the Rs. 10 lakh rage, and neither the Etios nor its updates have done anything to change that. Getting Maruti’s car will not just bring already successful products in to their arsenal but also reduce the considerable amount of time and R&D required for building something from scratch.
So does that mean Toyota is getting the best deal out of the two? No! These manufacturers are known for very different things. Quality and reliability has always been Toyota’s Forte and if that’s taken out of the equation, they are only as good as any of the others. I’m not saying that the Brezza and Baleno don’t have quality but they are just not in a level that’s exceptional. So Toyota is basically sacrificing their biggest asset on an experiment and that’s a huge risk!
Further, better design and technology are probably third on the list of priorities for someone who buys a Maruti. So that’s not why their cars sell, and unless Toyota make great updates of their own, they shouldn’t put much faith on this aspect either.
But surely then Maruti has drawn the longer stick, haven’t they?
No again. Bringing a global icon such as the Corolla in to their fold is surely a great move by Maruti, but at what cost. They are lofty enough to lent two of their best cars, plying in some of the best segments in the country, to a manufacturer who they should be seeing as greatest of rivals. If somehow, Toyota brings out a better version, cannibalism will be inevitable. It’s irresponsible for Maruti think that sales are going to continue or improve with better products on the table!
Also, since Maruti has not enjoyed anything worth mentioning in the premium sedan segment, it’s hard to say whether their version of the Corolla will be any different. See, I loved the Kizashi but look where it is at now!
There you go. I don’t think this is a good move by either of the manufacturer but hey, stranger things have been successful. Let’s wait and see.
Stay tuned for more news and updates!