Last year, Toyota had announced a strategic partnership with Maruti Suzuki. As a part of the agreement between the two Japanese automotive giants, both these companies decided to share their R&D for hybrid technology and will also offer cars to each other. As a part of this arrangement, Toyota was to get the Baleno and the Vitara Brezza, while Maruti will get the Corolla Altis. The launch dates of all these cars have not been declared yet, but now the Toyota badged Baleno is all set to launch in the coming few weeks. It is being said that Toyota’s Baleno based model is codenamed A11. This new hatchback will likely be built at Toyota’s green Bidadi plant in Bangalore, Karnataka.
In terms of design, Toyota’s Baleno based hatch will be quite similar to the Maruti Suzuki Baleno and will get slight tweaks like a redesigned bumper, some tweaks to the headlight design and a new front grille with the Toyota badge. This process will be identical to the way Nissan and Renault, Skoda and Volkswagen, and Mahindra and Ssangyong have shared similar vehicles under different badges. Apart from the Baleno, Toyota is said to be working on rebadging the Brezza, Ertiga and Ciaz.
Mechanically, the Toyota A11/Baleno will likely be equipped with a petrol engine, which will be mated to a manual gearbox, while the automatic transmission might be launched a bit later. Currently, the Suzuki Baleno offers 2 petrol engines, a 1.2-litre petrol engine which produces 83 HP at 6000 rpm and 115 Nm of torque at 4000 rpm and a 3-cylinder, 1-litre turbo-petrol engine which produces 100.5 HP at 5500 rpm and 150 Nm of torque at 1700 rpm. The Baleno also gets a new 1.2-litre dual-jet hybrid engine which is BS VI compliant. Toyota might use the same engine for the Baleno, but the exact specifications have not been revealed yet. The two manufacturers have forged a partnership which will also work towards the development of an all-new vehicle which will be tailored to meet the requirements of key markets.