As you must be aware, Suzuki and Toyota, in order to reach segments from which they are currently absent from in the Indian market, are currently working together in a partnership. As part of this, the two automobile giants will supply each other with cars from their own portfolio to be rebadged and sold through the other automaker’s dealerships.
For instance, Maruti Suzuki is going to provide Toyota with close 30,000 to 50,000 units of the Baleno and Vitara Brezza. These vehicles will then be rebadged and re-engineered and subsequently sold in India through Toyota dealerships.
Similarly, Toyota will supply Maruti Suzuki will approximately 10,000 units of the Corolla Altis sedan. Suzuki will then rebadged this premium sedan and sell it through its dealerships.
So far the two companies have been completely silent about their plans to launch the aforementioned vehicles in India. Both have chosen not to comment on their future plans as far as the launches of these vehicles are concerned.
Now, according to a report published in Gaadiwaadi.com, it is likely that Maruti Suzuki will launch its Toyota Corolla derived premium sedan in India next year. The launch of what effectively is going to be the automaker’s flagship product in our country is likely to happen sometime during the festive season of 2019.
This, however, is not going to be the first time that Maruti Suzuki has tried to explore the premium sedan segment in India. In 2011, the Indo-Japanese automaker tried to test the waters with the launch of the Kizashi.
However, despite being a very good product, it suffered from lacklustre sales. This was primarily due to the fact that very few very ready to shell out close to 16 lakh rupees for a Maruti Suzuki. This led to a subsequent discontinuation of the Kizashi from India in 2014.
Learning from this experience, Maruti Suzuki started building its reputation as a premium vehicle manufacturer through the launch of Nexa dealerships. With the facelift S-Cross now receiving good monthly sales, despite it costing close to what Kizashi used to, shows the changing perception of buyers when it comes to expensive Maruti cars.
Coming back to the Toyota Corolla Altis derived premium sedan from Maruti Suzuki, it is believed that the company has already started testing this model as its facility in Rohtak.
In addition to rebadging the Corolla, Maruti Suzuki is also going to employ its own powertrain options and not use the ones from Toyota. These engines, both petrol and diesel are going to be BS-VI complaint engines developed in-house by Maruti Suzuki.
The petrol engine is likely to be the same 1.5-litre K15B unit which we see on the facelifted Ciaz and the new Ertiga MPV. That said, for the premium sedan, the power and torque output figures could increase slightly. The diesel engine is also going to be a 1.5-litre unit. This is an all-new engine which is currently under development at Maruti Suzuki.
It is likely that both the models will get Suzuki mild-hybrid technology seen on the Ciaz and the Ertiga. Also, there will be the option of a manual as well as automatic gearbox across both the derivatives.