Toyota And Suzuki Announce Partnership, Leaving Japan’s Auto Industry Perplexed
It came out of nowhere. Last night’s abruptly called press conference by Toyota and mini-vehicle maker Suzuki was one of the strangest affairs I have seen in a while. Why? Because, on the face of it, these two companies have nothing really to share, not to mention the fact that Suzuki’s main rival Daihatsu is already a 100% subsidiary of Toyota.
The press blurb said that Suzuki and Toyota will “aim to strengthen collaboration in environment, safety and information technology,” citing technological challenges and a need to keep pace with rising consolidation in the global car industry. But no further information was given regarding details of this collaboration. In response to a question about its proposed relationship with Suzuki, Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda replied, “A decision has not been made as to exactly what relationship we will have with Suzuki.”
“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,” Toyoda added.
The two companies said that Suzuki was “increasingly feeling a sense of uncertainty” in the face of rapidly developing new technologies, while Toyota admitted it “may be behind competitors in North America and Europe when it comes to partnerships with other companies.”
Meanwhile, Suzuki’s chairman Osamu Suzuki, obviously wants to keep his company afloat and relevant in a rapidly changing automotive landscape. But Suzuki, Japan’s fourth-largest carmaker, has not made the necessary investments in areas such as autonomous driving and electrification, two hot topics now, so their R&D pool is wanting.
October 15th, 2016