Toyota’s Bid to Badge Engineer Jimny and Swift Faces Rejection from Maruti Suzuki
Maruti Suzuki has firmly rejected Toyota’s proposal to badge engineer two of its iconic models, the Jimny and Swift, citing their integral role in the brand’s identity. While the two automakers have previously collaborated successfully on models like the Baleno and Glanza, Ertiga and Rumion, and Grand Vitara and Urban Cruiser Hyryder, Maruti Suzuki is adamant about retaining exclusivity for the Jimny and Swift.
Toyota had expressed a keen interest in creating its versions of the popular Jimny and Swift, envisioning a Toyota-badged Jimny as an affordable 4×4 alternative to the relatively expensive Fortuner. Despite a recent decline in Jimny sales, Maruti Suzuki remains committed to preserving the iconic status of these models, emphasizing that core brand identity models are not meant for sharing.
The Swift, a consistent best-seller for Maruti Suzuki, averages over 17,100 units sold monthly. Toyota, having only retailed Maruti Suzuki’s premium Nexa products under its own brand, saw potential for significant sales growth by introducing a Toyota-badged Swift. The Glanza and Rumion, both badge-engineered Maruti models, currently contribute 25 percent to Toyota’s total monthly sales.
Maruti Suzuki drew a parallel between the request for Toyota to badge engineer the Jimny and Swift and asking the same for the Land Cruiser, highlighting a shared commitment to respecting core models defining their brand identity.
Rumors about Toyota’s plans to rebadge both the Jimny and Swift had surfaced soon after the Jimny’s launch. Suzuki declined the offer, stating that both models are integral to the brands’ DNA, and sharing them would dilute their iconic status. This decision impacted Toyota’s potential benefits in the Indian market, as a rebadged Jimny could have served as an affordable 4×4 SUV option.
The Swift, a consistently popular hatchback, could have further boosted Toyota’s monthly sales. Currently, rebadged Baleno and Ertiga models contribute 25 percent to total sales. If the Swift were added, it could potentially add another 25 percent. Although the Jimny faces pricing challenges in India, Maruti Suzuki has implemented discounts and introduced a Thunder Edition to stimulate sales.
In addition to this development, Maruti Suzuki is actively working on an electric vehicle (EV) expected to launch next year. Toyota is also set to receive a different version of this EV, likely an SUV comparable to the current Grand Vitara, with pricing estimated between Rs 20-25 lakh. This collaboration exemplifies the ongoing partnership between Maruti Suzuki and Toyota in developing diverse automotive solutions.
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