Jimny, Swift to not be shared with Toyota to protect brand identities

Toyota-Maruti Suzuki partnership in India, where they share models and platforms, has proved to be a win-win for both the Japanese carmakers.

By Autocar India News Desk calendar 29 Dec 2023 Views icon2225 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
Jimny, Swift to not be shared with Toyota to protect brand identities

Toyota is understood to have been quite keen to have its own versions of Maruti Suzuki’s iconic Jimny and Swift for its model line-up in much the same way the two companies currently share the Baleno and Glanza, the Ertiga and Rumion, and the Grand Vitara and Urban Cruiser Hyryder. Suzuki, on the other hand, has gently refused, stating that the two models are integral to its DNA and are not for sharing as selling them with a Toyota badge could dilute their iconic status. “Toyota wanted to badge engineer the Jimny and Swift, but we politely declined,” said a Suzuki source.

It’s clear why Toyota would like its own versions of the lifestyle SUV. With a Toyota badge, the very-capable Jimny could be a far cheaper 4x4 alternative to the Fortuner, which is exorbitantly priced and out of reach for many.

From one perspective, sharing the Jimny with Toyota could give Maruti Suzuki much-needed volumes, since Jimny sales are sputtering after the initial euphoria has worn off. Maruti has sold only 15,476 units of the Jimny in the June-November 2023 period; in fact, in November, sales were down to just 1,020 units. However, despite Jimny’s sales being lower than expected, the company isn’t inclined to share it with Toyota just to boost volumes.

“It’s like asking Toyota to let us badge engineer the Land Cruiser. Models that are at the heart of our brand are not meant for sharing and both companies respect that,” said a company source. 

For the same reason, the Swift is off the table. However, it's understandable why Toyota, which has only retailed Maruti Suzuki's premium Nexa products under its own brand, is also keen on acquiring the highly popular and iconic Swift. The Swift, sold through Maruti's mass-market Arena channel, consistently records an average of over 17,100 units every month. Given that the Maruti-supplied Glanza and Rumion contribute, on average, 25 percent to Toyota's total monthly sales, introducing a Toyota-badged Swift could potentially see sales increase by 25 percent.

The Toyota-Maruti Suzuki partnership in India, where they share models and platforms, has proved to be a win-win for both the Japanese carmakers that have successfully leveraged the economies of scale with low-investment badge engineering exercises. This has given both companies a significantly larger portfolio across various price points with a solid uptick in sales. Maruti will also be building EVs for Toyota and Suzuki’s global markets, and the deep ties between the two companies are set to become only stronger.

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