Toyota chief Akio Toyoda (left) and Mazda chief Masamichi KogaiEnlarge Photo
Japan's largest carmaker and one of its smallest are now working together. Toyota and Mazda say they have agreed to build a "mutually beneficial long-term partnership" that will likely involve the sharing of different technologies over the next few years.
The agreement will involve both companies pooling their respective technologies and products for future collaborations, although the partners did not give a timeline or name any specific projects. A "joint committee" will be set up to determine how "best to utilize each company's respective strengths," a Mazda-released statement said.
Discussing the deal, Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda praised Mazda's efficiency-focused Skyactiv engines and current Kodo design theme. Both have helped imbue recent Mazda products with the verve Toyota models are often criticized for lacking. Mazda, meanwhile, will likely benefit from having a partner with more resources to help underwrite development costs of new models and technologies.
One possible outcome of the partnership could be an arrangement where Toyota supplies Mazda with hydrogen fuel cell and plug-in hybrid powertrains, while Mazda gives Toyota access to its SkyActiv gasoline and diesel engines, reports Automotive News. Toyota and BMW have a similar arrangement to share fuel-cell technology.
Toyota already supplies hybrid components for a version of the Mazda 3 sold outside the U.S. The 2016 Scion iA is also based on the next-generation Mazda 2, and will be built at Mazda's new plant in Mexico.
Neither company is a stranger to collaborations. Toyota drafted Subaru to help it develop the Scion FR-S sports car, and is currently working on a similar project with BMW for a new Supra. Mazda arranged with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles [NYSE:FCAU] to turn the MX-5 Miata into an Alfa Romeo Spider, although that deal fell through. The Miata is now scheduled to morph into a Fiat 124 Spider.