By on December 16, 2016

2016 Toyota Prius Touring

It hasn’t given the plan a green light just yet, but Toyota is seriously considering letting other automakers tap into its engine, transmission and hybrid technology.

The automaker’s powertrain division chief has opened up on his desire to give rivals everything they need to offer customers a cutting-edge, fuel-efficient vehicle. Why should R&D departments muss their hair when they could just buy off-the-shelf gear from Toyota?

Sergio, are you listening?

Speaking to Reuters, Toshiyuki Mizushima, president of Toyota’s powertrain division, claimed the move would benefit his company and its competition. The automaker plans to boost its hybrid technology development, and recently announced an extensive lineup of next-generation gasoline engines, hybrid systems and automatic transmissions. Offering the components would mean a new revenue stream for the automaker.

However, before it can hand over its technology for cash, Toyota first needs to change the way it does business. Simply, it needs to loosen the leash on its suppliers.

“Toyota suppliers produce a lot of technology which can only be used by Toyota,” said Mizushima. “We want to change that to a system where we develop technology with our suppliers at an earlier stage … so they can make that technology available to non-Toyota customers.”

Toyota sources most of its powertrain parts from group suppliers that tailor the components for its own vehicles. Less exclusivity would mean new customers for the suppliers. It would also mean Toyota could sell an entire powertrain, or just an engine or transmission, to other automakers.

For many car companies, the biggest draw would be Toyota’s hybrid systems. Strict emissions requirements have placed pressure on automakers to offer electrified models, even though designing a system from scratch eats up precious money and resources.

“Until now, we couldn’t sell the same inverter used in Toyota’s previous hybrid system to other customers because it wouldn’t fit the motor, or the voltage was different,” Yoshifumi Kato, executive director of engineering R&D at Denso Corp, Toyota’s biggest supplier, told Reuters.

“We can avoid this issue if suppliers can sell the entire system.”

The cash Toyota and its suppliers gain from sales of its hybrid systems and drivetrain components would bolster R&D funds, allowing further development of fuel-saving technologies.

[Image: Toyota]

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34 Comments on “Take this Powertrain and Use It, Toyota Hopes to Tell Other Automakers...”


  • avatar
    FreedMike

    “The cash Toyota and its suppliers gain from sales of its hybrid systems and drivetrain components would bolster R&D funds, allowing further development of fuel-saving technologies.”

    My question is this: why does Toyota – TOYOTA – need to raise cash by selling one of its’ signature pieces of tech?

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      Toyota isn’t selling off its signature pieces of technology, it’s leveraging it across more volume, increasing profits.

    • 0 avatar
      Add Lightness

      If other manufacturers make their own parts with Toyota technology but not using the name Toyota anywhere, they probably will not be as reliable as the classic bullet-proof Toyota parts and Toyota will come out looking good while pocketing big consulting $.

  • avatar
    OldManPants

    Ooh.. that’s my blue in the photo..

    Hello, Beautiful!

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Mazda should pick up the phone and make a call.

    • 0 avatar
      brettc

      Mazda says “we’ll just keep reducing weight and trying to get blood from a stone. We’re independent now, gosh darn it!”

      They could benefit from Ford’s hybrid tech if they were still partnered up.

      Maybe they could trade their rotary technology for Toyota to play with.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Toyota picked up the phone to buy the Mazda 2 and created the Scion iA. Toyota values Mazda engineering expertise. No reason that cannot be replicated the other way round.
      As for blood from a stone the Skyactiv suite of technologies has enabled Mazda to be one of the most efficient car manufacturers without either gaming the system or using a CVT. Skyactiv 2 technologies are promised in the next few years. In the mid term Mazda needs hybrids etc, but not for the next 5-10 years

  • avatar
    VoGo

    Smart move. Engines over the next decade will continue to shrink, use turbos and hybrid technology. The typical engine in 5-10 years will be a 1.2-1.5L with an electric turbo and hybrid. It will cost just a little more than current engines, because it will be smaller and the technology will continue to be standardized.

    Toyota has an opportunity to lead here, by taking over drivetrain engineering and production for carmakers that fall outside the Top 5-7. Mazda, Subaru, PSA, and FCA would be strong candidates.

    I recognize that most of the B&B will wail and moan at smaller, more efficient engines, but the rest of us will enjoy these 300hp, reliable vehicles for as long as we are still driving (one decade, tops).

    • 0 avatar
      2manycars

      This is obviously some strange new usage of the word “smart” that we were not previously familiar with.

      I can safely say will never buy a hybrid car. No interest in them whatsoever. Ditto for pregnant roller skates sporting high-strung, highly-stressed little engines blown to within an inch of their lives to wring power out of them. Thanks but no thanks.

      For the rest of my driving career I will be sticking with large-displacement conventional gasoline models. There is no substitute for cubic inches. If environmentalists and leftists don’t like it they can lump it.

      Fortunately with the coming change in management in the U.S. federal mafia it is likely we will be able to rip out by the roots at least some of the baggage we’ve been saddled with for the last 8 years. Particularly in terms of emissions we reached the point of diminishing returns years ago, and CAFE needs to be discarded entirely. (It’s heartening in the extreme that president-elect Trump is tapping industry leaders – people who actually know what the hell they’re doing – for his cabinet rather than know-nothing politicians who have never held a real job in their lives.)

      Excuse me while I go warm up my nice big V8 and use up more gas idling to get the heater going than a hybrid will use in a week… and loving it.

  • avatar

    I was just thinking this on the way into work today…it would be great if we saw the Prius tech in other cars.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I just want them to start using the hybrid tech for evil (performance) not good (economy). The Lexus F models could use a torque bump…. incorporating Synergy Drive with those high revving V6s and V8s seems like a win-win.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Ask Honda how well adding a hybrid system to a V6 Accord and calling it a “performance booster” worked for them.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        I think McLaren might be a more optimistic analogy. Use the electric motor to fill in the low spots in the torque curve.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        That car failed for a lot of reasons that have nothing to do with that drivetrain. It was no better than the regular V6 Accord dynamically, with a price hike that didn’t yield a good enough fuel mileage boost.

        The tact taken with the NSX and McLaren lineup is more apt. They could bring back the old high revving 2.0L and give it a much needed torque/fuel economy boost.

      • 0 avatar
        wumpus

        It depends. If you are selling it as a hybrid and “performance booster” you have to provide more boost than simply doing the un-Honda trick of adding displacement.

        Telsa sells electric cars at Porsche prices by selling electric muscle. The market is out there (look at the BMW i3).

        [repeat of what I just posted]
        What I’d want would be the front end of the Prius and stuff a few hundred horses in the back (electric engine). The motor shouldn’t be expensive, semi-light (it can be brushless and let the FWD motor deal with any regeneration) but nothing Prius has ever used as a battery will provide the near ten times the power draw this would use.

        But if you could convince a battery to pound out that much power and live (look at ultracaps, it’s what they do. LiFePO4 might do it, but there would be lifespan issues), you would have a winner.

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    God that has hot to be on the top 10 for worst looking vehicles ever. Everything about it is wrong.

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    Mazda got 5 vehicles this would work in. Also while they are at it ask for the V6 hybrid combo in the RX for the CX9 and for a very powerful option for the Mazda 6. Would love to have a CX9 with a hybrid/diesel option…Mazda could you work on that for me. 300 hp 600 lb torque 40 mpg hwy…yummy.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Back in the “good old days” GM component divisions sold all kinds of stuff to other OEMs. The problem was they were producing them in high cost inefficient UAW/IUE/bloated GM system factories.

    So the work either migrated to Mexico / Asia, or to other suppliers entirely.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      The good thing about that old GM system was that if you own an AMC or a IH vehicle and know which parts to cross-reference you can still get parts for your vehicle from a long gone manufacturer.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Yup in a strict part count basis GM divisions made more of my Scout than IH did. I’m sure I’ve told it here before but when my dimmer switch started crapping out one night as the sun was quickly sinking I pulled into the nearest parts store. I asked for a dimmer switch for an International Scout and the guy said NO WAY are we going to have anything for that. I said yes, yes you do have the part on the shelf since it is the most common dimmer switch ever made. After a little more fighting he finally put his fingers to the keyboard and went wow we do have it. Of course I could have asked for one for a Chevy but where would be the fun in that.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I’m all for this.

    According to Lee Iacocca’s first book, apparently Honda really didn’t want to build cars back in the day, but wanted to sell engines to Ford, and HF2 didn’t buy it.

    So, if what I hear that Toyota builds the best engines is true, OEMs should line up and drop their own junk… Transmissions? Maybe not so much.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    Um, this is nothing new see the first Altima Hybrid that was all Toyota tech after the crankshaft. The first two generations of the Ford e-CVT was built by Aisin, though not a Toyota design. Aisin has also sold all types of transmissions to many of the world’s mfgs.

    “Aisin AW supplies automatic transmissions to 55 automotive manufacturers around the world,[1] virtually every major OEM. These include General Motors, Ford, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Porsche, Saab, Audi, VW, Volvo, Hyundai, MINI among others.”

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    Great. Now other cars will be able to rocket to 60 in 11 seconds, and have mushy brake pedals.

  • avatar
    Notmyname

    So big car manufacturers could be like Lotus

  • avatar
    Stevo

    VW please put HSD in the Golf. Better mileage and be rid of the strange throttle tip in and turbo lag that drive me crazy every time I drive my wife’s car. I love everything about the drive once past 10mph. And yes, B&B, I know this won’t happen.

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