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Suzuki Swift and Jimny – Forbidden fruit for Toyota

It’s no secret that Toyota and Suzuki share many of their cars today, but Suzuki has drawn a clear line in the sand when it comes to which models are off-limits.

According to a report from Autocar India, Toyota was quite eager to have its own version of both the Suzuki Swift and Jimny, but its partner has politely refused, stating that those two models are too iconic to Suzuki’s image to be shared.

A successful partnership

Toyota has had a long-running partnership with Maruti Suzuki in India to share a platform with several of the latter’s cars as part of a move to cut down on the cost of research and development and to widen market appeal.

Over the years, this has produced many twin cars from the Suzuki Vitara Brezza and Toyota Urban Cruiser to the Suzuki Baleno and Toyota Starlet, the Suzuki Celerio and Toyota Vitz, the Suzuki Ertiga and Toyota Rumion, and the new Suzuki Grand Vitara and Toyota Urban Cruiser.

All of the above-mentioned cars have been big successes for their respective brands, though Toyota has arguably benefitted even more given that it is the world’s largest carmaker and that its cars often outsell their Suzuki counterparts.

In South Africa, for example, the Starlet has sold 22,789 units as of November 2023 compared to the Baleno’s 8,129 units, despite the two vehicles sharing the exact same engine and architecture.

It therefore comes as little surprise to learn that Toyota was keen to replicate this success with Suzuki’s two biggest nameplates, but it’s for this same reason that Suzuki won’t allow the badge engineering to take place.

“Toyota wanted to badge engineer the Jimny and Swift, but we politely declined,” an undisclosed source told Autocar India.

“It’s like asking Toyota to let us badge engineer the Land Cruiser. Models that are at the heart of our brand are not meant for sharing, and both companies respect that,” it added.

This is not to say that there won’t be further overlaps between the two carmakers, and it is currently speculated that Toyota is working on a new crossover called the Urban Cruiser Taisor that will compete alongside the recently launched Suzuki Fronx.

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