TOKYO (Reuters) -- Toyota Motor Corp. and Mazda Motor Corp. announced plans for a long-term partnership that would go deeper than existing project-based ties as the industry faces escalating costs and technical challenges including environmental and safety requirements.
Toyota and Mazda said they would set up a joint committee that would encourage broad collaboration across a broad range of fields.
Automakers worldwide are increasingly joining hands to cut costs by building scale and spreading the load of heavy investments in new technologies over large numbers of cars.
The two Japanese automakers already have a technology and manufacturing tie-up. Mazda licenses gasoline-electric hybrid technology from Toyota and will soon start producing a small sedan based on the Mazda2 for Toyota's Scion youth brand.
The companies said in a joint news release today that the agreements would go beyond a "traditional framework of cooperation."
Sources told Reuters over the weekend that the two companies were in talks to expand their partnership in fuel-efficient technology, with Toyota providing fuel cell and plug-in-hybrid technology to Mazda in return for Mazda's Skyactiv series of gasoline and diesel engines.