Suzuki to gain larger models and hybrid drivetrain technology, while Toyota will use Suzuki's engines and rebadge some vehicles for the Indian and African markets.
- shares

Toyota and Suzuki have agreed to share drivetrains and models in a wide-ranging partnership, which is primarily focussed on Europe, India and Africa.

On a global level, Toyota will supply its hybrid technology to Suzuki, which to-date has sold vehicles only with petrol, diesel and mild hybrid drivetrains.

The two automakers will work closely to add Toyota hybrid tech to Suzuki's offerings in India. With a market share of over 50 per cent, Suzuki is the dominant force in the Indian market.

In Europe, the Suzuki range will gain two new hybrid vehicles built at Toyota's UK factory, one will be based on the RAV4 and the other will use the Corolla wagon as its starting point.

Both of these vehicles will be at least one size larger than anything else in the current Suzuki range. In exchange, Toyota will begin building Suzuki's latest generation of engines in its Polish factory, and use them in its European models.

For the Indian and African markets, product will move in the other direction. Suzuki will build versions of the Ciaz, a sedan based on the SX4 S-Cross, and the Ertiga (below), a people mover derived from the Swift, for Toyota.

Toyota's African subsidiaries will gain access to those two India-made models, as well as vehicles based on the Baleno and Vitara Brezza.

Suzuki will also make use of Toyota's under-utilised Indian factories to produce a new jointly-developed Corolla-class people mover.

With all these model sharing arrangements, it's not known how much differentiation there will be between original vehicle and the new Toyota or Suzuki model.

The two automakers were at pains to point out they continue "to fairly and freely compete against each other", but left the door open to further collaboration, especially around sustainable mobility.

"Through our new agreement, we look forward to the wider use of hybrid technologies, not only in India and Europe, but around the world," Akio Toyoda, CEO of Toyota, said in a prepared statement.

"At the same time, we believe that the expansion of our business partnership with Suzuki ― from the mutual supply of vehicles and powertrains to the domains of development and production ― will help give us the competitive edge we will need to survive this once-in-a-century period of profound transformation."

Osamu Suzuki, chairman of Suzuki, said he was pleased with the agreement, and thanked Toyota for the "kind offer ... to let us make use of their hybrid technology".

Today's model and drivetrain sharing announcement is the latest phase in the partnership between the two companies, which began with exploratory talks in 2016, and grew in 2017 to include more formal discussions.