Suzuki, Daihatsu join forces with Toyota to drive development of small electric vehicles
With Toyota at the helm, Suzuki and Daihatsu are joining forces to help the transition to a new era within Japan’s automotive industry.
Small car makers Suzuki and Daihatsu have entered into a business partnership with Toyota, as the companies look to develop electrification, safety, and technology in small commercial and passenger vehicles.
Toyota began the Commercial Japan Partnership (CJP) venture in April 2021 with truck manufacturers Isuzu and Hino (also owned by Toyota), with the aim of improving the products from Japan’s automotive industry.
The trend within the automotive sector relates to the development and adoption of four key technologies, referred to as CASE: connectivity (between cars, infrastructure, and manufacturers), autonomous driving technology, sharing and subscription models, and the electrification of powertrains.
Daihatsu and Suzuki are leaders in ultra-small cars and commercial vehicles – known as ‘kei’ cars in Japan, which use mandated 0.66-litre engines for tax purposes – but have lagged behind other areas of the industry in recent years.
Toyota hopes to improve vehicle safety across those segments, as well as pushing the development of hybrid and fully-electric powertrains.
The announcement also pointed to the industry-wide adoption of connected technologies across larger trucks and logistics.
Both Daihatsu and Suzuki will each acquire a 10 per cent stake in CJP – matching Isuzu and Hino – while Toyota will hold the remaining 60 per cent.
While Daihatsu is a subsidiary business of Toyota, the Suzuki and Toyota brands have enjoyed a strong working relationship, with versions of the Corolla Hybrid wagon and RAV4 Plug-in Hybrid being sold under the Suzuki banner in Europe. A number of Suzuki models are also sold with Toyota badges in markets such as India and South Africa.
The venture carries what it says is the automotive industry’s mission of improving the lives of people, as well as “leaving a better Japan and a better planet for the next generation”.
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