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Toyota is said to be working towards the launch of their version of the Maruti Baleno premium hatchback in the Indian market. The Toyota rebadged Maruti Baleno is said to be introduced in the Indian market, sometime during the next fiscal year.
Toyota will, however, add their unique features on the premium hatchback, which has been a successful product for Maruti Suzuki in the Indian market. This rebadging of the Baleno is part of the agreement between the two brands to share products.
The agreement between the two companies took place last year. As part of this agreement, Maruti Suzuki will provide Toyota with their Baleno and Vitara Brezza offerings. Toyota, on the other hand, will supply Maruti Suzuki with their Corolla Altis sedan. The agreement will also see the two companies share hybrid and other technologies for the Indian market.
According to PTI, a source stated, "In the second half of next fiscal, Toyota will launch its version of Baleno. There will be external tweaks for a different look but it will be more like the existing one."
Atsushi Oki, Vice President, TKM, stated, "Under the Toyota-Suzuki tie-up, each company will sell mutually supplied vehicles under their own respective brands and nameplates. Beyond that, at this point in time, we are not in a position to discuss further details such as vehicle specifications of our future product plans."
In terms of pricing of the Toyota re-badged Baleno hatchback, Atsushi Oki further stated, 'We understand the price sensitivity of the Indian market. We will continue to keep up the price momentum in these directions. At this point in time, details on pricing are under discussion."
Toyota is said to look into expanding its component localisation (supporting the 'Make In India' campaign) to help the company achieve cost-effectiveness in the Indian market.
Recently, Toyota and Maruti Suzuki also expanded the scope of their agreement. As part of the expanding scope, both companies will now collaborate in the field of technology development, vehicle production and market development as well.
Apart from the rebadging of products, Toyota and Maruti Suzuki are also jointly developing technologies in the electric vehicle segment. The two companies are working together to set-up a battery plant for EVs in India.
The battery plant, once set-up will be powering the upcoming Maruti Suzuki's first EV, based on the WagonR hatchback. The upcoming Maruti WagonR electric has been spotted testing on multiple occasions and is expected to launch in 2020.
Thoughts On The Toyota Rebadged Maruti Baleno Hatchback
The agreement to share vehicles and technologies between the Indian arm of Suzuki (Maruti Suzuki) and Toyota (Toyota Kirloskar Motors) was done in March of last year. The Toyota rebadged Baleno hatchback will be one of the first products to launch from the joint venture. Maruti is also currently working on a 2019 facelift of the Baleno hatchback, which has been spotted testing recently.