Toyota’s tie-up with Maruti Suzuki in India has already resulted in two products, namely the Baleno-based Starlet and Vitara Brezza based Urban Cruiser, and now it looks like a third Toyozuki is on the way.
Autocar India reports that Toyota will soon launch a new compact sedan called the Belta in that country and it will be heavily based on the Suzuki Ciaz.
It’s too early to confirm whether this badge-engineered sedan would be bound for South Africa, but it would certainly make a good replacement for the Etios sedan and given how the Ciaz is priced locally (R243 900 to R294 900) it might just avoid cannibalising the high-value Corolla Quest (R278 400 to R343 900), at a push. Just rename it please, Toyota, unless you want to be the butt of many a joke.
Then there’s the ride-sharing angle. This could be just what Toyota South Africa needs to regain ground in the Uber market, which has swung towards cars that are smaller and more efficient than the current Corolla Quest.
There’s no need to speculate about the spec sheet as the Toyota Belta will no doubt share the same 77 kW, 138 N.m 1.5-litre normally aspirated engine that does service in the current Ciaz. It remains to be seen what styling changes will take place, but judging by the first two Toyozukis, the most we could realistically expect is a partially redesigned front end. The pricing and positioning could be slightly different too.
Interestingly, the Toyota Belta is set to replace the Asian-spec Yaris sedan in India, Autocar India reports, with the latter being deemed comparatively too expensive for what it offers. In fact, that’s exactly how the Starlet killed off the Yaris hatch in South Africa.
But will the Ciaz-based Toyota sedan ever reach local shores? Once we know, so will you.