By on November 19, 2012

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.


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18 Comments on “Toyota And Mazda To Tie The Knot?...”

  • avatar

    Subaru USA’s relationship with Toyota has been beneficial to both companies. The plant that Subaru shared with Isuzu in Lafayette, Indiana was very underutilized when Isuzu pulled out it’s production. Toyota needed more production capacity for the Camry, so Toyota cut a deal with Subaru to essentially take Isuzu’s place. More than that though, Toyota shared its technology and (apparently) parts network. This allowed Subaru to raise the efficiency of its engines and transmissions. Win Win.

    • 0 avatar

      Granted- Toyota does have a minority stake in Subaru. So this kind of manufacturing tie-up (and joint projects like the FT86) is a natural outgrowth of that. Whereas Mazda has no formal ties with Toyota, so the plant sharing in Mexico could be a harbinger of more formal tie-ups to come.

  • avatar

    As long as Zoom-Zoom doesn’t turn into Zzzzzz-Zzzzzz as a result . . . .

    • 0 avatar

      Agreed. I think it’s likely that Toyota will be getting more zoomy though. If such a venture were to have happened under Watanabe, it would have been bad. Under Toyoda, there is a lot more promise.

    • 0 avatar

      Too late, the new 6 is evidence that Mazda has lost the influence of Ford’s chassis engineers. You may not notice it in North American spec, but it has lost its sharpness.

  • avatar

    I wouldn’t read any more into it than the deal with Fiat.

  • avatar

    Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. Carmakers have side agreements all the time. This looks like a tactical agreement, not the prelude to a takeover.

    Despite significant investment from Ford, Mazda has remained independent for a long time. They have a lot of momentum, with Skyactive, CX-5 and 6 all recent introductions. Now is not the time to sell out.

    • 0 avatar
      Sammy B

      Good point – but consider “buy low; sell high”. Mazda’s value may be considered high right now. From a return on shareholders’ investment standpoint, it might be best to sell when you can get the most for yourself.

      As of right now, I see it mainly as a testing of the waters while quickly giving toyota some Mexico capacity. Like Subaru, if things go well, perhaps greater future involvement. Not likely to be a complete takeover. From *Toyota’s* return on shareholders’ investment, a full purchase might not be the best return

  • avatar

    Sure Toyota and Mazda could go the JV way in Mexico. Toyota loves their JVs.

    But that’s miles away from any sort of shares transaction.

    I see Mazda marrying Fiat/Chrysler, but not Toyota.

  • avatar

    “Independent” automaker? What an oxymoronic term.

    Ever since the 50’s, folks have been talking of independents.

    Fact is that the independents are no more independent than the biggies, and probably more dependent on one market or segment than the biggies are. Truly, the only difference between the biggies and what most folks mislabel as independents, is only a matter of scale, as neither and nobody is independent of the industry or customers, stock markets and shareholders, bank loans and bond holders, rules regs or treaties, or competition.

    I suggest we bury the term independents and replace it with a better term.

    What successor terms suggest the b&b?

  • avatar

    Toyota’s buying Mazda could raise the ire of the various cartel offices around the world. It could be seen as anticompetitive.

    However, if Mazda were to go bust, being a strong partner with soft influence and joint ownership of jp assets, as well as being a technology supplier would give TMC a leg up as well as leverage for pursuing a takeover.

    In the meantime, such a strategy helps TMC 1) avoid unnecessary cap-ex in own dedicated plants (and you can bet TMC has an option to buy Mazda out of the JV or take control of the JV should it decide to), and 2) increases opportunities for its captive suppliers to increase penetration as Mazda vendors.

  • avatar

    Ford and Mazda had some deals together and nothing came of that. I think we are just gussing here and I’m guess that is what Mr Liker does and Bloomberg is only happy to spread the rumors thru out the finacial world.

  • avatar


    Don’t do it Mazda, I beg of you!!! You can find a far more worthy & righteous suitor, if you really must!!!

    Toyota will crush the exquisite quality of producer of soul-stirring vehicles that you almost singularly possess among mass market brands, and turn your zoom-zoom into numb-blah.

  • avatar

    This might result in a Toyazda model Hecho in Mexico, but I don’t see it being a full tie-up just based on this.

    That said, there might be share cross-holdings at some point because that’s what big Japanese corporations do.

  • avatar

    I agree that a hook up with Toyota might not be a good deal for Mazda, let alone Toyota and somehow I can’t see Mazda being part of FIAT(Chrysler) either, time will tell!

  • avatar

    The camel’s nose is under the tent.

    I said this a few days back, and I’ll say it again. Bye bye, zoom zoom.

  • avatar

    Toyota will destroy Mazda. I hope Mazda doesnt get absorbed by the Japanese GM.

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