Suzuki to Increase Ties With Toyota, Maintain Its Independence

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
suzuki to increase ties with toyota maintain its independence

Suzuki and Toyota Motor Corp. have agreed to begin official talks on pushing their partnership further. The partnership memorandum announced today covers a wide range of issues crucial to developing and producing automobiles, while keeping Suzuki independent as an automaker. Toyota is apparently not interested in corporate control. The automaker showed a similar gentle touch in its partnerships with Mazda Motor Corp. and Subaru parent company Fuji Heavy Industries.

Instead, the two companies have agreed to start brainstorming on how to best collaborate on advanced safety systems, environmentally friendly tech, information technology, overlapping components, and shared product.

Suzuki has fallen behind in research and development. While it has proven it can produce some of the best-value motorcycles and Kei cars in all of Asia, it isn’t on track for autonomous driving, electric powertrains, or even stringent emission regulations. It has spent a long time seeking a partner to help bring it up to speed technologically.

Meanwhile, Toyota gains access to Suzuki’s well-established supply network in India. The country is expected to become world’s third-largest car market by 2020, and Suzuki dominates that market right now. Toyota wants to double its own share of India’s passenger vehicle market to 10 percent by 2025, and the best way to accomplish this goal is to get Suzuki to help it produce and distribute simple, extremely affordable, and very small cars.

The two became chummy after Suzuki broke its alliance with Volkswagen AG due to repeated disputes over sharing technology (and downright nasty issues between upper-management). While that partnership ended in a lot of bad blood, a joint release by the Toyota and Suzuki suggests the companies are eager to establish a framework for the partnership and get the ball rolling.

“In response to Toyota’s display of enthusiasm, Suzuki also intensively engaged in the discussions, and we now stand at the starting point for building a concrete cooperative relationship,” Suzuki Chairman Osamu Suzuki said in the official statement. “I want to give this effort our fullest and to aim at producing results that will lead Toyota to conclude that it was the right thing for Toyota to have decided to work together with Suzuki.”

[Image: ©2016 Murilee Martin – The Truth About Cars]

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  • Eyeflyistheeye Eyeflyistheeye on Feb 07, 2017

    Authentic Japanese Suzukis are very good cars. Just not by the American definition of "good." The American definition of a good car since around the mid 2000's has been something that makes the driver look either cool/wealthy/smart, reliable and refined. In the third-world, which puts bread on their table and for their Japanese buyers, it's reliability, reliability and reliability. My uncle bought a 2002 XL-7 which he has since sold. For a weirdo like me who loved the honest practicality of 1980's-1990's Japanese cars, I thought it was wonderful, although it would piss off anyone who wanted something like a CR-V or RAV4 since it was trucky, a gas guzzler with quaint mismatching interior fixtures that had the appearance that Suzuki stuck in whatever worked. Was reliable and tough as hell though. I'd love for Toyota to import the Swift as a Starlet or something. Me thinks Suzuki might have had a better chance of staying alive if they would have just imported the Swift instead of wasting all that money to create the goofy Kizashi.

  • Gtem Gtem on Feb 07, 2017

    My brother's experience with his Japanese-built '02 XL7 (4wd, 2.7L V6, 5spd manual) has been mostly positive, and fits his needs very well. It has a unique combination of BOF toughness and true off-road capability, with very stable car-like RWD handling and lower center of gravity. Rides very well thanks to the longer wheelbase and isolation of BOF construction. Ultimately limited by the lower ground clearance and mediocre breakover angle offroad, I've seen it scramble up some stuff it had seemingly no right to. Decent power with the 5spd, the automatics are dogs. Suspension has held up like a champ to quite a bit of dirt road and In the negatives I will put timing-chain tensioner issues that necessitated a 10-hr operation to replace. The curse of the sub-3.0L V6 I suppose :p Trackers/Vitaras of all generations including the older stubby 2dr variants were thick on the ground in Costa Rica, their design fits the locale to a 'T' over there. Our own rental Diahatsu Terios was likewise a perfect fit the for the job, if only lacking a lower-range gear set for the steep and narrow dirt roads that climb up into the hills. I also suspect in longer term use, the BOF Trackers hold up better in terms of body integrity and sqeaks/rattles and such.

  • Funky D I despise Google for a whole host of reasons. So why on earth would I willing spend a large amount of $ on a car that will force Google spyware on me.The only connectivity to the world I will put up with is through my phone, which at least gives me the option of turning it off or disconnecting it from the car should I choose to.No CarPlay, no sale.
  • William I think it's important to understand the factors that made GM as big as it once was and would like to be today. Let's roll back to 1965, or even before that. GM was the biggest of the Big Three. It's main competition was Ford and Chrysler, as well as it's own 5 brands competing with themselves. The import competition was all but non existent. Volkswagen was the most popular imported cars at the time. So GM had its successful 5 brands, and very little competition compared to today's market. GM was big, huge in fact. It was diversified into many other lines of business, from trains to information data processing (EDS). Again GM was huge. But being huge didn't make it better. There are many examples of GM not building the best cars they could, it's no surprise that they were building cars to maximize their profits, not to be the best built cars on the road, the closest brand to achieve that status was Cadillac. Anyone who owned a Cadillac knew it could have been a much higher level of quality than it was. It had a higher level of engineering and design features compared to it's competition. But as my Godfather used to say "how good is good?" Being as good as your competitors, isn't being as good as you could be. So, today GM does not hold 50% of the automotive market as it once did, and because of a multitude of reasons it never will again. No matter how much it improves it's quality, market value and dealer network, based on competition alone it can't have a 50% market share again. It has only 3 of its original 5 brands, and there are too many strong competitors taking pieces of the market share. So that says it's playing in a different game, therfore there's a whole new normal to use as a baseline than before. GM has to continue downsizing to fit into today's market. It can still be big, but in a different game and scale. The new normal will never be the same scale it once was as compared to the now "worlds" automotive industry. Just like how the US railroad industry had to reinvent its self to meet the changing transportation industry, and IBM has had to reinvent its self to play in the ever changing Information Technology industry it finds it's self in. IBM was once the industry leader, now it has to scale it's self down to remain in the industry it created. GM is in the same place that the railroads, IBM and other big companies like AT&T and Standard Oil have found themselves in. It seems like being the industry leader is always followed by having to reinvent it's self to just remain viable. It's part of the business cycle. GM, it's time you accept your fate, not dead, but not huge either.
  • Tassos The Euro spec Taurus is the US spec Ford FUSION.Very few buyers care to see it here. FOrd has stopped making the Fusion long agoWake us when you have some interesting news to report.
  • Marvin Im a current owner of a 2012 Golf R 2 Door with 5 grand on the odometer . Fun car to drive ! It's my summer cruiser. 2006 GLI with 33,000 . The R can be money pit if service by the dealership. For both cars I deal with Foreign car specialist , non union shop but they know their stuff !!! From what I gather the newer R's 22,23' too many electronic controls on the screen, plus the 12 is the last of the of the trouble free ones and fun to drive no on screen electronics Maze !
  • VoGhost It's very odd to me to see so many commenters reflexively attack an American company like this. Maybe they will be able to find a job with BYD or Vinfast.