Japanese car makers Toyota and Suzuki today announced that they are exploring a joint collaboration owing to increasing requirement for technological research in areas such as environment and safety apart from conventional automotive R&D.
A joint statement said:
“With its primary focus on small vehicles, Suzuki has been consistently refining its technologies so as to develop vehicles with high price competitiveness. However, in the face of the advanced and future technology R&D field, Suzuki is increasingly feeling a sense of uncertainty.”
It went on to say that although Toyota has been conducting R&D in environmental, safety and IT technology, it believes that competitors in European and North American markets may be ahead of it when standardizing and partnering with other companies for technological development.
Suzuki’s infamous partnership with Volkswagen ended in a bitter legal battle resulting in the two companies parting ways far earlier than the deal set out, and Suzuki buying a 20% stake back from Volkswagen.
Related: 2018 Toyota Supra Spied Testing
Toyota, meanwhile, has been working on its next Supra in a joint venture with BMW that will also produce the Z5. Both of the new sports cars will be hybrids and will share many components. However development has now separated as the cars near completion.
Speaking about the deal, Toyota’s president, Akio Toyoda, said:
“As the environment which surrounds the automobile industry has been changing drastically, we need to have the ability to respond to changes in order to survive. In addition to the R&D which each company is working on individually, it is very important now to have partners who share the same goal and passion. We would like to always keep our doors open for new partnership opportunities, which will contribute to the making of ever-better cars as well as to the development of the automotive industry.”
Suzuki boss Osamu Suzuki said:
“Toyota is industry-leading, and the most reliable company which is actively working on various advanced and future technologies. I am appreciative that Suzuki is able to start discussions with Toyota to explore ideas on a partnership. I first spoke about this possibility with Toyota’s Honorary Chairman Shoichiro Toyoda, and am very grateful that President Akio Toyoda has also shown an interest.”
Related: Toyota Completely Acquires Daihatsu
A tie-up between Toyota and Suzuki would bring together two families that have been in the auto business for generations. Mr. Suzuki, 86 years old, said he first contacted Toyota’s former president, 91-year-old Shoichiro Toyoda, about a partnership last month and the discussions expanded to include Mr. Toyoda’s son, Akio Toyoda, the current president.
Japanese car makers recently have entered into strategic alliances such as Nissan, which recently announced purchase of a controlling stake in Mitsubishi Motors, and Toyota had already fully acquired Daihatsu earlier this year.