Toyota, Mazda to collaborate on products, technology


With OEM consolidation steeling spotlights and headlines recently, Toyota Motor Corporation and Mazda Motor Corporation say they have agreed to leverage resources to complement and enhance each other’s products and technologies.

Both automakers say the mutually beneficial, long-term partnership will result in more “appealing cars that meet the diverse needs and tastes of customers all over the world.”

A joint committee will be established to evaluate how best to use each company’s respective strengths. Collaboration will cross a range of fields including environmental and advanced safety technologies.

This is not the first time the two Japanese rivals have partnered up. Previous collaborations include the licensing of Toyota’s hybrid technologies to Mazda (yet to be seen in vehicles in Canada) and the production of compact cars for Toyota at Mazda’s plant in Mexico.

Toyota has also shared duties with Subaru with the design and construction of the BRZ/Scion FR-S.

The companies stress the agreement will go beyond the traditional framework of cooperation, aiming instead to create a whole new set of values for cars through wide-ranging medium to long term collaboration.

Calling out its Skyactiv Technologies, Toyota president Akio Toyoda said Mazda has proven it always thinks of what is coming next for vehicles and technology, while still managing to stay true to its car making roots.

“In this way, Mazda very much practices what Toyota holds dear: making ever-better cars,” Toyoda said in a release.

This week’s announcement comes at an interesting time as many OEMs are looking to slim capital costs by minimizing the number of vehicle platforms and developing flexible manufacturing facilities.

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne took the consolidation effort to the next level recently with a 25-page treatise called Confessions of Capital Junkie in which he urged automakers to consider consolidation on certain levels to ease the escalating cost of developing vehicle technology.

The outspoken executive spoke to the matter at a dealer event in Oakville, Ont., on May 9 where he said he had yet to hear from any of his peers regarding the his cost cutting concepts.

“I don’t know how you go to bed every night knowing you’ve been abusing capital for all these years and that you do it knowingly, willingly,” Marchionne told reporters. “If they think these comments are going to get me deterred from the objectives, I’ve got news for you, it just reinforces my conviction that it needs to happen. I haven’t heard someone tell me that it’s not true. Not one.”

Neither Mazda nor Toyota officials released specifics regards to the new agreement. Industry watchers assume Mazda will be looking to Toyota to license its fuel cell technology.