Friday, December 9, 2022

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Toyota discontinues Urban Cruiser SUV with no replacement

New Delhi: Toyota India has discontinued the Urban Cruiser SUV, based on the previous generation Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza. The automaker has pulled the Urban Cruiser from its website and with no replacement currently planned or in the works, this could be the end for the Maruti-based Urban Cruiser as we know it.

Of course, Toyota still has the Urban Cruiser Hyryder on sale, and there could be another Urban Cruiser-badged SUV in the future. But at this point, it seems increasingly clear that Toyota is unlikely to redesign or restyle the new Maruti Brezza launched earlier this year.

Why did Toyota drop the Urban Cruiser?

The Urban Cruiser was the second facelifted model to be launched under the Maruti Suzuki-Toyota partnership and it was also a reasonable success for the automaker as it averaged sales of around 2,200 units per month.

The main reason for ditching the SUV is that Toyota believes the price the new Urban Cruiser would have to carry would come close to matching the larger and more premium Hyryder Urban Cruiser with the Suzuki. For the record, the now discontinued Urban Cruiser was priced at a premium of Rs 5,000-15,000 over the then Vitara Brezza.

The new Brezza has also moved much higher in price and positioning, now priced between Rs 7.99 lakh-13.80 lakh (ex-showroom). In fact, the top-end variants are more expensive by almost Rs 2.50 lakh over its predecessor. And so the Toyota version, after paying Suzuki’s license fee, would be even more expensive, tread close to the Hyryder’s mid-range variants, and both would still be powered by the same 1.5-litre mild-hybrid petrol engine.

Why Brezza positioning works for Maruti?

Unlike Toyota, Maruti Suzuki has the advantage of having two separate sales channels – Arena and Nexa. While the Brezza is sold through the Arena, the Grand Vitara is sold through the Nexa. This means there is no real overlap and no real cannibalization.

So proximity to price doesn’t matter so much for Maruti and the more options it offers to customers actually helps it attract more customers to its towpath.

While we may not get a direct replacement for the Urban Cruiser, Toyota has kept the brand alive by using it as a prefix in front of the Hyryder name. The car company could also use this name on future products.

Toyota will do more joint badge designs and restyling exercises with Maruti and Suzuki. An example is its version of the new Maruti Baleno as the Toyota Glanza, which looks completely different this time. And so will the cars of the future.

Toyota will soon unveil the next generation Innova MPV (Innova Hycross) in India on November 25 and will also spawn a Maruti derivative in the future.

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