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Toyota to build Suzuki-badged Corolla estate in UK

Toyota and Suzuki are to collaborate on technological development and production in a move to gear up for wider use of hybrid technologies.

Toyota's Burnaston manufacturing plant in Derbyshire

Toyota’s Burnaston manufacturing plant in Derbyshire will produce Suzuki-badged Corolla Wagons for Europe

Announced two years after the carmakers signed a memorandum of understanding towards a business partnership, the tie-up will draw on the firms’ respective strengths in hybrids and compact cars to help them grow in new fields.

The deal will see Toyota provide its hybrid technology globally to Suzuki and build two new hybrid cars for Suzuki – this includes a Suzuki-badged version of the Corolla estate at Toyota’s Burnaston, Derbyshire plant, providing a rare piece of good news for the UK car manufacturing industry, as well as the Rav4 in Turkey.

Suzuki in turn will supply Toyota with rebadged version of its Ciaz and Ertiga models and petrol engines to enable Toyota to expand in India, along with versions of its Baleno, Vitara Brezza, Ciaz, Ertiga models for Toyota to target the African market with.

The agreement, which also takes in joint development of a Toyota C-segment MPV and OEM supply to Suzuki, comes some 12 months after both carmakers made emphatic statements on ditching diesel, with Suzuki’s GB MD having proclaimed that “diesel is finished” while Toyota is phasing it out of its line-ups.

The carmakers added that they would continue to “fairly and freely” compete against each other but intend to consider further collaboration to “realise a sustainable future mobility society while respecting all applicable laws”.

Toyota President Akio Toyoda said: “When it comes to vehicle electrification, which is expected to make further inroads, hybrid technologies are seen as playing a huge role in many markets, as from before. Widespread acceptance is necessary for electrified vehicles to be able to contribute to Earth’s environment. Through our new agreement, we look forward to the wider use of hybrid technologies, not only in India and Europe, but around the world. At the same time, we believe that the expansion of our business partnership with Suzuki – from the mutual supply of vehicles and powertrains to the domains of development and production – will help give us the competitive edge we will need to survive this once-in-a-century period of profound transformation. We intend to strengthen the competitiveness of both our companies by applying our strong points and learning from each other.”

Suzuki chairman Osamu Suzuki said: “At the time we announced our scope of cooperation in May last year, I spoke that we will strive for success globally. I have seen progress in the partnership since then, and it is my pleasure to be able to make this announcement today regarding the status of partnership on a global basis, including Europe and Africa. In addition, we appreciate the kind offer from Toyota to let us make use of their hybrid technology. We will continue our utmost efforts.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.