Toyota, Suzuki outline plans to deepen collaboration
TOKYO -- Toyota Motor Corp. and Suzuki Motor Corp. announced Monday that they have agreed to start concrete talks about collaborating in environmentally friendly technologies, safety systems, information technology and the mutual supply of products and components.
The announcement provides more detail following a rough agreement both companies announced in October. At that time, they said they agree to explore collaboration in green car, safety and information technology fields, citing drastic and unprecedented changes in the industry that are cranking up product development costs and spurring consolidation.
At the time, neither automaker offered deeper details about the team effort.
The Feb. 6 development comes on the heels of a report in Japan's Nikkei business daily saying the two companies would pen a technological partnership in such fields as autonomous driving.
The official announcement, issues in a joint press release, offers little more than an update. It did not mention any details about a possibility of a capital tie up between the carmakers.
It said both companies have started discussing challenges and areas of possible cooperation. The Japanese rivals are also examining a collaboration that doesn't run afoul of antimonopoly regulations. They also pledged they will work toward an “early realization” of the partnership.
“The companies agreed today to begin concrete examinations toward the realization of business partnership in areas including environmental technologies, safety technologies, information technologies, and mutual supply of products and components,” they said.
The collaboration comes as automakers race to combine resources to cover the increasing costs of developing environmentally friendly drivetrains, advanced safety technologies and other new systems, such as those being rolled out to realize autonomously driving vehicles.
Through a deal, Suzuki is seen benefiting from Toyota's expertise in advanced technologies, such as electrified powertrains. Toyota, meanwhile, could gain from Suzuki's deep roots in the growing India market, which the bigger Japanese company has had trouble penetrating.
Suzuki gravitated toward Toyota a year after it broke off its ill-fated alliance with Volkswagen Group, amid disputes over sharing technology and corporate control. Toyota, which already has alliances with Mazda Motor Corp. and Subaru-maker Fuji Heavy Industries, has a history as more light-handed partner than Volkswagen that may mesh better with Suzuki's management.