Plans for Toyota-badged Suzuki Jimny blocked – report

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A new report claims Suzuki “politely declined” a request by Toyota – which owns 5 per cent of the small-car specialist – to sell rebranded Suzuki Jimny 4WDs and Swift city cars in its showrooms.

A plan to Toyota to sell a rebadged version of the pint-sized Suzuki Jimny four-wheel-drive – and the Suzuki Swift city hatch – was shut down by Suzuki, a new report claims.

A source within Suzuki has reportedly revealed to Autocar India that Toyota “wanted to badge engineer the Jimny and Swift” for sale in its showrooms alongside LandCruiser 4WDs and Yaris hatchbacks.

Toyota owns a 5 per cent stake in Suzuki, and the companies already collaborate on rebadged models; the Toyota RAV4 and Corolla are sold as the Suzuki Across and Swace in Europe, while a number of Suzukis are available as Toyotas in developing markets.

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However Toyota versions of the Jimny and Swift were seemingly deemed a step too far, and the Suzuki source told the Indian outlet “we politely declined” Toyota’s proposal.

“It’s like asking Toyota to let us badge engineer the LandCruiser. Models that are at the heart of our brand are not meant for sharing and both companies respect that,” the Suzuki source reportedly told Autocar India.

In India, the Suzuki Baleno city hatch is available as the Toyota Glanza (or Starlet in South Africa), the Suzuki Ertiga people mover becomes the Toyota Rumion, and the Suzuki Grand Vitara and Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder SUVs differ in badges and bumpers only.

The Toyota version of the Suzuki Baleno in South Africa.

The next jointly-developed models from the Japanese car makers is expected to be a new city-sized electric SUV due in 2024, previewed by concepts from each car maker – which have different front bumpers and headlights, but the same body structures and rear fascia designs.

Meanwhile, it is unclear where a rebadged Suzuki Swift would have fit in Toyota’s global line-up, given it already offers a wide array of city hatchbacks for different markets – including the hybrid Yaris.

The illustrations in this story – created by Theottle – show what a Toyota-badged Jimny could look like, with styling inspired by the new Prado, and previous concepts unveiled by the car giant.

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Reports out of Japan claim it is developing a ‘LandCruiser Mini’, inspired by the 2021 Toyota Compact Cruiser EV concept – which could use rugged ladder-frame underpinnings and petrol, petrol-hybrid or diesel power.

It will reportedly be similar in size to a Toyota Corolla Cross – at about 4.3 metres long – which is half a metre longer than a five-door Jimny XL, but would become the smallest model in the current LandCruiser line-up.

Alex Misoyannis has been writing about cars since 2017, when he started his own website, Redline. He contributed for Drive in 2018, before joining CarAdvice in 2019, becoming a regular contributing journalist within the news team in 2020.

Cars have played a central role throughout Alex’s life, from flicking through car magazines at a young age, to growing up around performance vehicles in a car-loving family.

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