Buried deep within a piece on the proliferation of car plants in Mexico is a musing from University of Michigan professor Jeff Liker, about the future of Toyota and Mazda.
Liker, who specializes in researching Toyota, cited previous manufacturing tie-ups, including the Subaru-Toyota JV in Indiana, as one of the signs pointing to deeper ties between the two auto makers. Liker told Bloomberg
Toyota’s manufacturing agreement with Mazda “is just catch-up,” said Liker, who also teaches efficient manufacturing techniques to companies.
“They have too little capacity in Mexico, compared with many other competitors,” he said by phone last week from Mexico City. Toyota “tends to take a very long-term view when it makes a decision like this, so I would expect this plant to eventually become a joint-venture between the two,” Liker said.
Whether Toyota will take an equity stake in Mazda is another matter, Liker “wouldn’t be surprised” if that ended up happening. While conventional wisdom dictates that Mazda is in an unenviable position as a struggling independent automaker in a world of consolidation and precarious financial conditions, it could end up having its dance card full, between their dalliances with Fiat and the latest Toyota venture.