Toyota Buys Stake in Suzuki, Announces Alliance Deal

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
toyota buys stake in suzuki announces alliance deal

Not in the least shy when it comes to forging new partnerships, Toyota announced a long-simmering alliance with Suzuki on Wednesday. Now, before certain internet denizens begin counting down the days until a new Jimny appears in their driveway, this alliance won’t bring much in the way of new product to North America. Europe and other overseas markets, however, can expect a range of new offerings.

Like so many other automaker pair-ups, this yet-to-be-approved deal would see the two automakers focus primarily on technology sharing and autonomous vehicle development. As Toyota loves hybrids, Suzuki stands to benefit in the same way Subaru did.

For its part, Toyota will purchase a 4.94 percent stake in Suzuki for $908 million, with the smaller partner buying up a stake worth half as much. The genesis of this deal goes back to October 2016, when the two companies began talks on a collaborative partnership. A memorandum of understanding was signed the following year.

“On March 20 of this year, the companies announced that they would begin specific considerations in order to engage in joint product development and collaboration in production, in addition to promoting the mutual supply of products, by bringing together Toyota’s strength in electrification technologies and Suzuki’s strength in technologies for compact vehicles,” the automakers said in a joint release.

“The two companies intend to achieve sustainable growth, by overcoming new challenges surrounding the automobile sector by building and deepening cooperative relationships in new fields while continuing to be competitors, in addition to strengthening the technologies and products in which each company specializes and their existing business foundations.”

Details of the looming alliance came to light in March, with Toyota agreeing to build badge-engineered versions of its RAV4 hybrid and Corolla wagon for European customers. Production would take place at Toyota’s Derbyshire, UK assembly plant.

You’ll recall that Toyota, which also holds a significant stake in Subaru, made possible the recent Crosstrek Hybrid sold in select U.S. markets. Well, Suzuki will make use of these same hybrid powertrains, using the Toyota-built units in vehicles sold the world over. In exchange, Toyota will field small Suzuki engines in a number of unspecified models.

In the rapidly growing Indian market, it’s Suzuki-born vehicles that will grow a Toyota badge. The two companies also plan to co-develop a compact SUV for those customers.

Sadly, no word yet on a possible Toyota sportbike.

[Image: © 2019 Chris Tonn/TTAC]

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