In what could turn into a mega partnership in the global automotive industry, Toyota Motor and Suzuki Motor have agreed to take concrete steps toward sharing more models, vehicle architectures and electrified vehicle technology.
The discussion between the Japanese automakers is on three major subjects: sharing of electrified vehicle technology including Toyota’s patented hybrid vehicle systems, sharing of Suzuki’s compact vehicle architecture and engines and leveraging each other’s manufacturing capabilities for global markets.
Toyota and Suzuki have been considering such a collaboration since having signed a memorandum of understanding toward business partnership on February 6, 2017. Since then, Toyota Kirloskar, the local unit of the Japanese automaker, has agreed to source the premium Baleno hatchback and compact SUV Vitara Brezza from Suzuki’s Indian unit, Maruti Suzuki.
Now they plan to further expand the partnership. Toyota would now also get the Ertiga multipurpose vehicle and the Ciaz sedan from Maruti Suzuki to sell in India. By 2022, the local unit of Toyota will start making Suzuki cars in its factory at Bidadi on the outskirts of Bengaluru. It would also export these vehicles — Baleno, Vitara Brezza, Ciaz and Ertiga — to Africa under the Toyota badge.
Suzuki, in turn, would get two new electrified vehicles built on the Toyota platform: the RAV4 and Corolla Wagon for the European market.
Both companies have also agreed to jointly develop and share a C-segment MPV for the Indian market.
“When it comes to vehicle electrification, which is expected to make further inroads, hybrid technologies are seen as playing a huge role in many markets … Through our new agreement, we look forward to the wider use of hybrid technologies, not only in India and Europe, but around the world,” Toyota president Akio Toyoda said.
“At the same time, we believe that the expansion of our business partnership with Suzuki — from the mutual supply of vehicles and powertrains to the domains of development and production — will help give us the competitive edge we will need to survive this once-in-a-century period of profound transformation. We intend to strengthen the competitiveness of both our companies by applying our strong points and learning from each other.”
Suzuki chairman Osamu Suzuki said: “At the time we announced our scope of cooperation in May last year, I spoke that we will strive for success globally. I have seen progress in the partnership since then, and it is my pleasure to be able to make this announcement today regarding the status of partnership on a global basis, including Europe and Africa. In addition, we appreciate the kind offer from Toyota to let us make use of their hybrid technology. We will continue our utmost efforts.”
The companies, in addition to bringing together the strength of Toyota in electrification technologies and Suzuki in technologies for compact vehicles, intend to grow in new fields, such as joint collaboration in production and in the widespread popularisation of electrified vehicles, Toyota Kirloskar said in a statement on Wednesday.
With the growing challenges on emission and target to meet stringent corporate average fuel economy rules in the future, Suzuki would be relying on Toyota’s hybrid vehicle system for the global markets, apart from working aggressively to localise those in India in partnership with Toyota.
Toyota would be banking on Suzuki’s expertise of compact car expertise and it would adopt newly developed Suzuki engines for compact vehicles. Such engines are to be supported by Denso and Toyota, and will be manufactured at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Poland.