Badge engineering is something that Suzuki has been indulging for quite a while now. We have the Maruti Suzuki Alto being sold as the Nissan Pixo in many international markets while the Suzuki SX4 is also known as the Fiat Sedici crossover in parts of Europe. However, Suzuki has pulled off a surprise of sorts by rebadging the Ertiga MPV to give birth to the Mazda VX-1. The Mazda VX-1 MPV will be sold in the Indonesian car market. Now, the Ertiga, which is a massive success in India, is a strong seller in Indonesia too. The Ertiga sold in Indonesia is built by Suzuki Indonesia, from CKD kits imported from India.
Recently, the Ertiga got an upgrade in Indonesia, in the form of a chrome plated front grille and air conditioning vents for the second and third rows. Coming back to the Mazda VX-1, the only changes on the outside appear to be the differently designed grille and the Mazda logo on the hatch lid. Apart from these changes, the Mazda VX-1 is essentially an Ertiga. On the inside too, the changes are quite minimal, with the most prominent one being the Mazda logo now replacing the Suzuki badging on the steering wheel.
Given that the Indonesia-spec Ertiga is available only in petrol guise, the 1.4 Liter K-Series engine delivering 94 Bhp-130 Nm will be carried over from the Suzuki model to the Mazda VX-1. Transmission will be through a 5 speed manual gearbox while a 4 speed automatic gearbox could make an appearance in the next few months given the fact that Suzuki Indonesia does have plans of launching an automatic gearbox equipped Ertiga in 2013. In India, Maruti Suzuki sells the Ertiga with an additional engine option in the form of the 1.3 Liter Multijet turbo diesel motor outputting 90 Bhp-200 Nm.
It remains to be seen how the Mazda VX-1 MPV will be positioned in Indonesia and whether the MPV will sit above or below the Ertiga. In India, badge engineering has worked as well as car makers would have liked it to. For instance, the Volkswagen Vento and the Skoda Rapid, two badge engineered models haven’t managed to boost sales in a big way and the same holds good for the Volkswagen Polo and the Skoda Fabia hatchbacks as well. Similarly, Nissan and Renault’s approach of badge engineering the Micra-Pulse hatchbacks and the Sunny-Scala sedans also have not produced stellar results. In the next few months, another badge engineered product will make its appearance in India, in the form of the Ashok Leyland Stile, an MPV based on the Nissan Evalia.