Toyota, Suzuki brief PM Narendra Modi on joint India plan

NEW DELHI: Japanese car majors Suzuki and Toyota on Thursday gave clear hints of a mega partnership for the Indian market as global heads of the two companies met PM Narendra Modi, giving an outline about their potential joint work in areas of manufacturing and new, cleaner technologies.

Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota and Suzuki chairman O Suzuki briefed Modi about potential plans being worked upon by the two companies.

The visit comes weeks after the two companies publicly disclosed that they are looking for a partnership and greater engagement. Suzuki controls a majority stake in Maruti, India’s top carmaker which has a near 50% share of the market.

“The Toyota-Suzuki business partnership, and future technological developments came up for discussion. The partnership is expected to bring together Toyota’s global leadership in technology and manufacturing, with Suzuki’s strength in manufacture of small cars, especially in India,” an official statement released by the government said, while giving details about the meeting. “It is expected to enable India to use new technological developments. Further, high volumes will lead to local manufacturing of components required for these technologies.”

The government said a deal between the two companies will help promote Make in India manufacturing call, and contribute to employment generation. “It also opens up scope for export of new technology cars from India.”

Top sources within the companies said a partnership will ensure “synergise” for both the brands and will “fill in gaps” so that they can make a stronger pitch in markets across the world, with a special focus on India.

“Suzuki, and through Maruti, aims to gain a lot from Toyota in new-age technologies such as electric and autonomous mobility,” one of the sources said.

On the other hand, Toyota wants a stronger and deeper understanding of the Indian market and a large portion of this can be accessed through the experience and expertise of Maruti in India. “The strength of Maruti and its leadership in India has been a strong enabler in the initiation of partnership talks between the two companies,” a source in one of the companies said.

Toyota’s is willing to engage with Suzuki on small cars even as the company looks for a play in the category with its own Daihatsu brand.