Ronzuki wrote:Daihatsu is crap, Suzuki isn't and they saw the error of their ways? Toyota really doesn't offer anything small and terribly affordable anymore. Look at what the RAV 4 and that Highlander have grown in to. They're both rather huge compared to their roots.
Fingers crossed that the Jimny gets here.
When Daihatsu was in the US in the late 80's and early 90's, maybe they were crap, but they aren't as kei-cars in Japan. In fact, they outsell Suzuki there now so they have the greater market share. They are basically seen as head-to-head competitors in the kei-car market. What makes Suzuki unique is that they are like Daihatsu by specializing in ultra compacts but also like Honda by building various types of vehicles and engines ranging from motorcycles, ATVs, to watercraft engines.
Given that Toyota fully owns Daihatsu and is much more technologically advanced than Suzuki, I was puzzled at why they cared about partnering with Suzuki. I read a little more about it and turns out my hunch was right: India's market share. Toyota, like many other companies, want to tap into India given their huge automotive market that is growing. Maruti Suzuki has over a 40% share of the entire
Indian auto market, meaning that nearly half the cars sold in India are Maruti Suzukis. That's what Toyota wants from Suzuki. Suzuki has a lot to gain from Toyota obviously in every other market as they are underdogs just about everywhere else in sales, but especially technology.
However, I don't think we should get too excited about this partnership as Suzuki fans in places like the US and Canada. Suzuki isn't likely to come back as a brand. If anything, what will happen is that Toyota will sell Suzukis branded as Toyotas in the US. Given that Scion is now gone, they will certainly be branded as Toyotas if any were to come, much like how the Mazda2 was first sold as the Scion iA and now the Toyota Yaris iA despite it being a totally different car from the Yaris. If anything, I think the S-Cross would be the first Suzuki to come back to the US given Toyota currently doesn't have anything like it, having recently killed off the Venza. After that, maybe the Swift if they discontinue the current Yaris (which they should for a Swift replacement).
I'd personally love to see Suzuki SUVs come back like the Grand Vitara and Jimny, but Americans are all about CUVs these days. Even the Vitara transformed into a CUV for the current generation in other markets. While, Toyota doesn't currently have a CUV or SUV smaller than the RAV4, their C-HR is on the way soon.