With Suzuki in tow, Toyota readies for a 'Big Leap' in 2022 with new gen SUV in India

Toyota Motor, the world’s largest automaker which overtook General Motors in North America for the first time in 2021, is beginning a new chapter in its India journey to drive the emerging market.

As part of the plan, called the “Big Leap” internally, the maker of the Innova and Fortuner has shut its India facility for over a month starting Christmas to recast it for higher output and make way for the production of a mainstream SUV (codenamed D22) to challenge Hyundai Creta and a multipurpose vehicle (codenamed 560B). The local unit of Toyota is scheduled to reopen the plant near Bengaluru on February 4.

Toyota Kirloskar Motor plans to introduce the mid-size SUV in the upcoming festive season. An offspring of the vehicle will also come with the

brand under a product-sharing deal between Toyota and Suzuki Motor (called YFG). D22 is part of Toyota’s plan to completely revamp its portfolio, with half a dozen new model launches planned over the next two years.

While the C-segment MPV 560B is lined up for launch in 2023, the company this year is set to introduce the Hi-Lux pick-up truck, followed by an all-new Glanza hatchback and Urban Cruiser (product upgrades), and the mid-size D22 SUV. It will also launch Maruti Suzuki’s Ciaz and Ertiga with the Toyota badging, initially for the export markets but eventually in India as well. Even a crossover version of the Maruti Suzuki Baleno is being explored to be added to Toyota’s portfolio.

Thanks to the global alliance with Suzuki, Toyota is expected to enter multiple critical segments of the Indian market, said Gaurav Vangaal, associate director at consultancy firm IHS Markit. He expects the Toyota brand to grow at a compounded annual rate of 25% in the coming 5-7 years.

“The alliance has provided much-needed strategy stability to Toyota in India. Sustained new launches in multiple segments and price point from the alliance shall help Toyota gain market share in the coming years,” Vangaal said, adding: “We expect a faster and leaner Toyota catering the market needs of Indian consumers for the next few years than ever before.”

Toyota Kirloskar said the plant shut down was for scheduled maintenance and to upgrade the plant and machinery to enhance operational efficiencies, productivity and safety.

On the company’s plans on product launches, a spokesperson said it would like to refrain from commenting.

Toyota Kirloskar Motor posted 72% growth in sales last year, the spokesperson said. The demand trend is gravitating towards pre-Covid times with high customer orders across models in December, the spokesperson added.

“Looking forward, in 2022, our aim is to expand our footprints with special focus on Tier-2 & 3 markets. Growth for TKM is not just defined in terms of sales numbers but with an enhanced product portfolio, we hope we will be able to cater to more segments as well as newer markets in 2022 and beyond,” the spokesperson said.


The D22 SUV will be an all-new utility vehicle from Toyota for the Indian market after almost half a decade. It will be positioned in the core of the SUV market — and it will come with Toyota’s hybrid technology.

Toyota Kirloskar plans to produce 200,000 units of the Creta rival annually within next few years once volumes mature in India and globally

Almost a third of its production will be the hybrid version offering an electric motor with the internal combustion engine and will be shared by both Suzuki and Toyota.

The new products will be produced out of the Bidadi facility on the outskirts of Bengaluru.

Toyota will also now start producing vehicles for exports by both the company and Suzuki under their global alliance.

The entry into mainstream SUV segment will boost utilisation level of the Indian operation of Toyota, as incremental volume lowers fixed cost per unit for the second plant at Bidadi where Yaris used to be manufactured.

This would help lift the financial performance of the Indian arm of the world’s largest car maker, which has been under duress for the last three fiscal years and in FY22 posted its first loss in five years.

The company is planning to produce 77,000 units of the Innova and Fortuner and another 45,000 units of the D22 and YFG (Maruti’s variant) SUV in the next fiscal year starting April.

People in the know said both plants with a cumulative capacity of 3.1 lakhare likely to be utilised in the next 2-3 years.

On the deal with Suzuki, Toyota said the partnership is the first step to explore more opportunities to collaborate in environment-friendly and safer vehicles, as well as mutual supplies to meet changing market demands.

On the hybrids, the company said it has all the core electrification technologies, and that its philosophy is to shift rapidly towards sustainable mobility.

“In line with this, we would like to enhance our efforts towards achieving national objectives towards Carbon Neutrality. As pioneers of electrified technologies, TKM will continue to focus on mass electrification and decarbonisation by encouraging localisation of electrified vehicle parts and take actions across the lifecycle from production, distribution and usage,” said the spokesperson.


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