At a joint press conference overnight, Toyota and Mazda announced that the two companies will begin a “long-lasting partnership” that will focus on drivetrains and safety.
The two companies will immediately form a joint committee that will look at ways to “utilise each company’s respective strengths”, as well as nurture collaboration on environmental and safety issues.
Speaking on behalf of his company, Toyota president Akio Toyoda said: “We’re entering an agreement to forge a long-lasting partnership. Through this partnership we’ll leverage the resources of both companies to complement and enhance each other’s management, products, and technologies.”
Masamichi Kogai, Mazda’s president and CEO, told the press conference: “The purpose of the agreement that we signed today is to enable the two companies to co-operate in regards to the multiple issues which the automobile industry is facing today including environmental issues, safety and globalisation of our businesses.”
The two leaders heaped praise on the other’s organisation. Toyoda noted that Mazda’s Skyactiv drivetrains and Kodo design direction prove that its new partner “always thinks of what is coming next for vehicles and technology”.
Kogai in turn commended Toyota for its “steadfast resolve on global environmental issues and the future of manufacturing”. Both parties believe that Mazda’s focus on “joy” and Toyota’s mantra of “ever-better cars” overlap in significant ways.
These words of mutual praise can be read as coded hints confirming a report yesterday that Mazda will provide Toyota with Skyactiv engines and drivetrain components, while the smaller partner gains access to Toyota’s fuel cell technology.
During a question and answer session afterwards, the leaders of both companies gave evasive responses to questions relating to the timing of this agreement, whether the two companies would collaborate on joint development or merely supply and share current technologies, what the first fruits of this new agreement might be, and the potential for a capital tie-up between Mazda and Toyota.
When a reporter from Magazine X stated that the press conference felt like a wedding announcement, Toyoda playfully said that it was more like “an engagement announcement” because the two parties have “only looked at each other through positive eyes”. Kogai’s eventual reaction to the marriage comment was rather more muted, but the true meaning of his words were lost in translation.
Toyoda didn’t give a direct answer on how the partnership with Mazda will affect Toyota’s current agreements with BMW and Subaru.
At present, Toyota and Mazda already co-operate in a number of areas. For the Japan-only Mazda 3 Hybrid sedan, Toyota supplies Mazda will hybrid drivetrain components. While, from its new factory in Mexico, Mazda will deliver a slightly restyled Mazda 2 sedan to Toyota, which will sell that vehicle as the Scion iA in North America.