Maruti Suzuki and Toyota are looking at expanding their areas of cooperation, as per a report from Mint. The Japanese brands are considering sharing service outlets among other aspects.
An undisclosed source has told the business publication that Maruti and Toyota’s discussions for joint projects include areas such as manufacturing and sales practices, common services centres, royalty payments on cross-badged models and alignment of their cultures.
Compared to Suzuki, Toyota’s presence in the Indian market is minuscule, and doesn’t have a very strong network of touchpoints. According to the website of its Indian subsidiary, Toyota Kirloskar Motor, the company’s dealer network here is of 250+ outlets which have enjoyed massive success in dealing with premium models Innova and Fortuner. Maruti Suzuki (Suzuki's Indian subsidiary), on the other hand, has 3,389 sales outlets and 3,550 service workshops nationwide, dealing with cars below INR 11 lakh (ex-showroom). It services 14.75 lakh vehicles every month.
Toyota Kirloskar Motor will source the Baleno and Vitara Brezza from Maruti Suzuki, in exchange for the Corolla Altis. The companies will pay each other for the design changes they seek to differentiate the cross-badged version. In future, whoever builds the vehicle will have the right to introduce the model first in the market, the source has said.
A spokesperson for Toyota Kirloskar Motor has said that the allies will consider the schedule of parts, supply for each model, number of supplied units, vehicle specifications and pricing at a later stage.
Previous reports have said that the first of the shared models will go on sale in the second quarter of 2019 (April-June 2019). Neither Toyota, Suzuki nor their respective Indian subsidiary has given a specific timeline for the launch of any shared model.