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Old 28th May 2023, 09:58   #1
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Toyota, Suzuki & Daihatsu co-develop electric commercial minivan & BEV platform

Toyota, Suzuki and Daihatsu recently unveiled a prototype of their electric commercial minivans, based on a jointly developed BEV platform. All three electric minivans are said to be built to Japan's kei car specification and are part of the push towards carbon neutrality.

Toyota, Suzuki & Daihatsu co-develop electric commercial minivan & BEV platform-electricminivan1.jpg

The electric minivans make use of Suzuki and Daihatsu's expertise in developing small-sized cars and Toyota's electrification technology. As per reports, Daihatsu will manufacture the vehicles, with the badge-engineered versions of each model set to arrive by the end of the year. Toyota claims that the commercial minivan has an expected range of 200 km per charge.

Toyota, Suzuki & Daihatsu co-develop electric commercial minivan & BEV platform-electricminivan2.jpg

The prototype model of the small commercial van was showcased at an exhibition event organised by the Japan Automobile Manufacturers' Association, along with the G7 Hiroshima Summit.

Source: electrek

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Old 28th May 2023, 14:22   #2
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Re: Toyota, Suzuki & Daihatsu co-develop electric commercial minivan & BEV platform

It looks like a mini Tempo Traveller and a bit of Eeco vibe as well. This would be a great option for private use. From the picture, it appears like having the size of Eeco or even bigger. Hope this comes to India at some point and allows pvt registration too.

I've been spoilt by the immense ease of maneuverability of a van in narrow city roads. Narrow wheel track, amazing turning radius, high seating position etc are a boon with mini vans. An AT convenience in the form of an EV would be just brilliant. Add 150 kms range to it, you'll have a great city car.

Couple of pictures of my trusted city slicker. I quietly dream about converting this into an EV down the line. I know, it's not a great idea to convert a heavy ladder frame mini truck into an EV. No harm in dreaming.
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Old 28th May 2023, 16:47   #3
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Re: Toyota, Suzuki & Daihatsu co-develop electric commercial minivan & BEV platform

I've always wondered why the Japanese OEM's didn't bring more of their small UVs to the Indian market. A Kei car EV van or mini truck would be a very creditable urban option for both private buyers and commercial customers I reckon.

An electric Eeco could go gangbusters surely both in private and commercial sales. Not like there's any real competition in those sectors. I guess there's the EV light trucks from Tata, like the Ace but that's it.
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Old 29th May 2023, 16:06   #4
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Re: Toyota, Suzuki & Daihatsu co-develop electric commercial minivan & BEV platform

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Originally Posted by ads11 View Post
I've always wondered why the Japanese OEM's didn't bring more of their small UVs to the Indian market. A Kei car EV van or mini truck would be a very creditable urban option for both private buyers and commercial customers I reckon.
Only one that brought over vans was Suzuki. The others Japs are too proud to tarnish their premium image with cheap vans or had their hands burned, like Nissan did with the ableit larger Evalia. Daihatsu is not even in the picture, courtesy of its absence in the Indian market. Add to that, whatever commercial needs are being filled by contraptions from Mahindra and TATA. A proper small van was launched by TATA- the Venture, but it was launched during Tata's epic buildup in the late 2000s before losing half a decade to cluelessness.

Got my hopes high, when it was rumoiured that the Eeco was discontinued and a new van or atleast an updated Eeco would come, But alas. They just gave it compliance stuff and a new engine. Wished they would atleast launch the decades old Suzuki APV.

Except for Honda who has their own kei van, rest all Japanese manufacturers sell only rebadged versions of either Suzuki or Daihatsu microvans nowadays.
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Old 30th May 2023, 10:28   #5
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Re: Toyota, Suzuki & Daihatsu co-develop electric commercial minivan & BEV platform

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Originally Posted by ads11 View Post
I've always wondered why the Japanese OEM's didn't bring more of their small UVs to the Indian market. A Kei car EV van or mini truck would be a very creditable urban option for both private buyers and commercial customers I reckon.

An electric Eeco could go gangbusters surely both in private and commercial sales. Not like there's any real competition in those sectors. I guess there's the EV light trucks from Tata, like the Ace but that's it.
When the Indian economy opened up in the late 90s, all the Japanese majors piled in with their pick-up trucks.... Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Mazda etc..... then the 407 happened and the rest as they say is history. The Japanese then quit these ventures and never bothered to compete in the Indian commercial space since. Albeit the heavily revised/localised versions of these pick ups survive with their Indian operations like Eicher, Swaraj etc. The 407 is one of the biggest domestic success stories against global competition.
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Old 30th May 2023, 18:57   #6
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Re: Toyota, Suzuki & Daihatsu co-develop electric commercial minivan & BEV platform

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Originally Posted by shortbread View Post
When the Indian economy opened up in the late 90s, all the Japanese majors piled in with their pick-up trucks.... Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Mazda etc..... then the 407 happened and the rest as they say is history. The Japanese then quit these ventures and never bothered to compete in the Indian commercial space since. Albeit the heavily revised/localised versions of these pick ups survive with their Indian operations like Eicher, Swaraj etc. The 407 is one of the biggest domestic success stories against global competition.
I see, thanks for the historical context. Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't the 407 a whole segment larger than the sort of small vans/trucks being touted in the article? Also was the 407 a wholly Tata product from the ground up or was it a licensed product? (Telco back then had strong links with Daimler right so just trying to get some context - feel free to link me to any thread that's already covered this).

In any case, seems disappointing that none of the Japanese CV OEMs want to chance the Indian market again.

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Originally Posted by DicKy View Post
Only one that brought over vans was Suzuki. The others Japs are too proud to tarnish their premium image with cheap vans or had their hands burned, like Nissan did with the ableit larger Evalia. Daihatsu is not even in the picture, courtesy of its absence in the Indian market.
I guess this fills in the remaining factor in the picture for Why the Japanese haven't revisited this segment.

But seeing as Suzuki seems to be the only ones still humble enough to soldier on in the commercial segment, and given they're one of the troika in the story, wonder if they'd bring any of these in? Have they ever considered it or is Tata really such a behemoth in the CV space that other OEMs just don't see it worth their time to try and compete?
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Old 31st May 2023, 13:28   #7
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Re: Toyota, Suzuki & Daihatsu co-develop electric commercial minivan & BEV platform

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Originally Posted by ads11 View Post
I see, thanks for the historical context. Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't the 407 a whole segment larger than the sort of small vans/trucks being touted in the article? Also was the 407 a wholly Tata product from the ground up or was it a licensed product? (Telco back then had strong links with Daimler right so just trying to get some context - feel free to link me to any thread that's already covered this).

In any case, seems disappointing that none of the Japanese CV OEMs want to chance the Indian market again.
While it's a segment bigger, it was the Japanese giants first tryst in the Indian commercial space and rather than persisting they all bailed out. Even a segment smaller, Tata dominates with the Ace pick up trucks and the Japanese will simply struggle with the value proposition. Same goes for other Indian products like Mahindra Jeeto etc. When it comes to value engineering a cost conscious product which is exactly what the Indian commercial space needs, the Japanese have been found wanting.

The only outside company that has carved a space for itself in the Indian commercial market is perhaps Bharat Benz (exported from India and sold globally under the FUSO brand).
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Old 31st May 2023, 14:51   #8
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Re: Toyota, Suzuki & Daihatsu co-develop electric commercial minivan & BEV platform

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While it's a segment bigger, it was the Japanese giants first tryst in the Indian commercial space and rather than persisting they all bailed out.
Bailed out is the word I was searching for. It really does appear like they did so to this segment. I suppose the pickings would be too slim if they tried their luck at getting a small sliver of the CV space to make it worth their while.

Still think one of these as an EV iteration of the Omni for eg could be a very compelling product both for the private and commercial segments. Would be a great way to resurrect a historic badge and bring it up to speed for the EV era.

Quote:
When it comes to value engineering a cost conscious product which is exactly what the Indian commercial space needs, the Japanese have been found wanting.
That's so interesting, considering how the Japanese for the most part did understand the value proposition for the PV space, or maybe that's just Suzuki heavily skewing the numbers and thus perception.

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The only outside company that has carved a space for itself in the Indian commercial market is perhaps Bharat Benz (exported from India and sold globally under the FUSO brand).
I feel like I keep going off on CV sector tangents here, but isn't FUSO a Mitsubishi brand? Also didn't realise Bharat Benz have made some headway, good for them. I've only ever seen their tipper trucks out in the wild but even then, sparingly.
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Old 31st May 2023, 15:45   #9
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Re: Toyota, Suzuki & Daihatsu co-develop electric commercial minivan & BEV platform

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Originally Posted by shortbread View Post
When the Indian economy opened up in the late 90s, all the Japanese majors piled in with their pick-up trucks.... Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Mazda etc..... then the 407 happened and the rest as they say is history. The Japanese then quit these ventures and never bothered to compete in the Indian commercial space since...
Earlier I used to feel proud and had even used it as usiness case study example a couple of times at college. But I have come to realise that the 407 wiping away the Jap Four or rather, the Jap Four chickening out from the Indian market really did pull our CV market back by decades. I am sure that just like how Tata and Mahindra are in top of their game now, their CV sections too would have been able to beat or match the foreign manufacturers in one aspect or other. Right now, it is almost a duopoly for Tata and Mahindra. Those who have driven a 407 and a Dyna/Canter/Cabstar of a similar vintage will know how much of a difference is there. Heck, we would have had some proper vans instead of flogging a German design for decades or making a contraption out of a French van.

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I feel like I keep going off on CV sector tangents here, but isn't FUSO a Mitsubishi brand? Also didn't realise Bharat Benz have made some headway, good for them. I've only ever seen their tipper trucks out in the wild but even then, sparingly.
Yes. But somewhere in the Merc-Mitsu-Hyundai alliance chaos of the early 2000s, guess Misubishi sold off a good share to Daimler/Mercedes. The Bharat Benz trucks are doing pretty decent atleast in Kerala. The smaller models are all based on Fuso models, while the bigger ones are based on Merc models.
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Old 31st May 2023, 20:21   #10
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Re: Toyota, Suzuki & Daihatsu co-develop electric commercial minivan & BEV platform

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Originally Posted by DicKy View Post
Earlier I used to feel proud and had even used it as usiness case study example a couple of times at college. But I have come to realise that the 407 wiping away the Jap Four or rather, the Jap Four chickening out from the Indian market really did pull our CV market back by decades. I am sure that just like how Tata and Mahindra are in top of their game now, their CV sections too would have been able to beat or match the foreign manufacturers in one aspect or other. Right now, it is almost a duopoly for Tata and Mahindra. Those who have driven a 407 and a Dyna/Canter/Cabstar of a similar vintage will know how much of a difference is there. Heck, we would have had some proper vans instead of flogging a German design for decades or making a contraption out of a French van.
All the players have really raised their bar in the last decade. Tata's Ultra, Sigma, Intra series (which are sold outside India under the Daewoo badge), AL's Partner, Boss range, Mahindra's Furio, Eicher's Pro range..... are all comparable with Japanese rivals and compete against them in Middle East and African markets.

In respect to vans, the issue is in a market of approx. million CVs annually the Traveller sells about 10k units a year. It's simply not lucrative enough to invest in. Monocoque vans are expensive and the market still prefers cheaper body on frame small buses for the same job. The Force Urbania is a brilliant package but operators will simply buy a small body of frame bus since it costs a lot less.
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