Initial focus is India and other developing markets

Last week Toyota and Suzuki announced the next steps in their emerging partnership, with the initial focus being India and emerging markets in Africa, along with three key areas of co-operation.

Discussions will begin immediately on how Toyota and Denso, its wholly owned parts supplier, can provide "technological support" to Suzuki in its quest to develop a "compact, ultra-high efficiency drivetrain".

The two companies will also see which Suzuki models can be produced by Toyota Kirloskar Motor, the company's majority-owned affiliate in India. Any Suzuki-developed vehicles built there will be sold through both Toyota and Suzuki's sales channels.

Lastly, Toyota and Suzuki will discuss which models can be exported from India to Africa and other emerging markets. These cars will be sold through Suzuki and Toyota dealers in those export regions.

This latest announcement builds on a partnership established in October 2016 focused on safety, green vehicles, and information technology.

Above: Suzuki Alto K10.

Toyota, while the much larger automaker of the two, lags well behind Suzuki in India. Given Maruti Suzuki's stranglehold on the Indian market, all other car makers have been left trailing in its wake.

According to Best Selling Cars Blog, 3,226,162 passenger cars, excluding light commercial vehicles, were sold in India in 2017 – 49.2 per cent of those coming from Maruti Suzuki, with second-placed Hyundai only managing a 16.5 per cent share, and Toyota somewhere within the top 10.

All of the 10 best-selling individual models came from either Maruti Suzuki or Hyundai, with Maruti Suzuki having a lock on the top five. Suzuki owns around 56 per cent of Maruti Suzuki.

The company's range includes modern metal, like the latest Ignis, Baleno and S-Cross, and unique variants like the DZire, a sedan version of the Swift. There's also facelifted and updated versions of earlier models, like the Alto K10, which was originally launched in 2000, and the Wagon R.