It was in 2017 that Toyota Motor Corporation and Suzuki Motor Corp officially entered a partnership for joint development of products and technology sharing. However, in the last 3 years, we haven't seen any major development on that front. For the initial phase, they had decided to test the waters with something simple, which led to the launch of Toyota Glanza. Essentially a re-badged Maruti Suzuki Baleno, the Glanza was introduced to serve as a solid entry-level product for Toyota, considering the Etios range had become obsolete. But was the Glanza able to serve its purpose? Also, now that Toyota is set to launch its first subcompact SUV, the Toyota Urban Cruiser, the re-badged version of the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza, the question that arises is, will it do any better?
Now, this is not the first time that we are seeing such a partnership in India. In fact, the Renault Nissan Alliance has been following this strategy of product and platform sharing for years now. Some of the biggest examples include the Renault Pulse which was based on the Nissan Micra and the Nissan Terrano which was based on the Renault Duster. In both cases, the source product, that is Nissan's Micra and Renault Duster were more successful than their counterparts. And Toyota had a similar experience with the Glanza.
Also Read: Toyota Glanza Review
Since the launch of the Toyota Glanza, the company has sold over 26,000 units of the hatchback in India, whereas in the same period Maruti Suzuki sold over 1.5 lakh units of the Baleno. In fact, since its launch, Maruti Suzuki has sold over 7.4 lakh units of the Baleno. While this is likely to include the 26,000 units supplied to Toyota to be sold as the Glanza, even so, certainly in terms of sales there is no competition here. And Toyota knew that. Unlike Maruti Suzuki, which offers an array of variants for the Baleno, Toyota chose to offer only the top-spec G and V trims, which are at par with the higher-spec Zeta and Alpha variants of the Baleno.
Toyota even managed to keep the price of the Glanza marginally lower than the Baleno. Of course, both offered CVT automatic options along with a mild-hybrid variant, but by limiting itself to the top-spec trims, Toyota was trying to create a niche for the Glanza and managed to sell an average of 2,200 units a month. To give you a perspective, that's more than triple of what was the combined average sales of the Etios Liva and Etios Cross for the same period.
In terms of styling and features, there are literally no differences between the two cars except for the brand logo. However, Toyota does offer better after-sales service packages. Compared to the Baleno's 2 years/40,000 km standard warranty, the Glanza comes with a 3 years/1,00,000 km warranty. Also, while both offer extended warranties of up to 5 years, in case of Baleno it's again limited to 1,00,000 km, whereas for Glanza the warranty goes up to 2,20,000 km. So, with the Glanza, Toyota has targeted those customers who are looking for a product like the Baleno but with the strong after-sales services of Toyota. And it looks like the company is happy with the niche it has created for the product.
As for the upcoming Urban Cruiser, Toyota will be positioning it as a compact, urban SUV, and an entry point into Toyota's famed SUV family. Like the Baleno, the Vitara Brezza too has done wonders for Maruti Suzuki, making it the country's largest SUV maker purely in terms of volumes and Toyota would certainly want to replicate that success with the Urban Cruiser. And this time around the lessons from the Glanza experiment will certainly help Toyota make a stronger impact.