Toyota is open to having its drivetrain technology and components sold to rivals, although when this will begin happening is unclear.
Last week Toyota launched its next generation of transmissions, hybrid drivetrains, and Dynamic Force engines, which will begin showing up in production vehicles from next year, possibly starting with the new Camry.
At the event, the company told Reuters that it was considering allowing its drivetrain components, including engines and transmissions, to be sold to rival automakers.
Toshiyuki Mizushima, president of Toyota’s drivetrain division, told the news wire: “Toyota suppliers produce a lot of technology which can only be used by Toyota. 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.”
At present, Toyota develops most of its drivetrain components with suppliers that are partially or wholly owned by Toyota or the Toyota group of companies.
While this allows engineers from both sides to work together more tightly than they would otherwise do, it often means that parts and systems end up only being applicable to vehicles within the Toyota family.
If this change does happen, there could be a number of benefits. Firstly, Toyota believes that it will accelerate the industry’s progress with low emissions vehicles.
Perhaps, just as importantly, it would allow Toyota’s suppliers to broaden their customer base. At present, Toyota is responsible for around half of Denso and Aisin’s component sales. Companies from the Toyota family hold a 30 per cent stake in each of Denso and Aisin.
The change would also improve economies of scale at a time when research and development costs are rising, with alternative energy, vehicle automation and connectivity requiring car makers of all stripes to increase budgets.
Given market trends, some within Toyota believe that a car’s mechanical aspects are becoming less and less of differentiating factor between brands and companies.
MORE: Toyota news and reviews