Japan: Toyota, Suzuki announce capital tie-up

A photo shows a process of the assembling Toyota Mirai, a hydrogen fuel vehicle at Motomachi factory of Toyota Motor Corporation in Toyota, Aichi Prefecture on Aug. 20, 109. ( The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images )

TOKYO (The Japan News/ANN) — Toyota Motor Corp. plans to form a capital tie-up with Suzuki Motor Corp., the companies announced Wednesday. The two companies will use the capital base as an opportunity to conduct joint research on autonomous driving technologies.

Toyota will invest ¥96 billion to hold a stake of about 5 percent in Suzuki, while Suzuki is also expected to invest ¥48 billion to hold a stake in Toyota. This deal will consolidate the domestic auto industry into three camps: the Toyota alliance; the alliance of Nissan Motor Co. and Mitsubishi Motors Corp.; and Honda Motor Co. alone.

Toyota sells more than 10 million new cars a year and competes with Volkswagen AG (VW) of Germany and the Nissan-Renault S.A.-Mitsubishi alliance as one of the world’s top three automobile groups. By establishing a capital relationship with Suzuki, which sells about 3.4 million new vehicles a year, Toyota hopes to outperform rivals and win out in the rapidly changing automobile industry.

At a time when it is difficult for Suzuki alone to raise funds for the development of next-generation vehicles, attention has been focused on whether it can develop its cooperative relationship with Toyota into a capital tie-up.

Suzuki announced a capital tie-up with VW in 2009, with the German automaker taking a 19.9 percent stake. However, the partnership was dissolved in 2015 because Suzuki could not satisfactorily receive environmental technology from VW. Since then, Suzuki has remained independent in terms of capital.

Toyota has been deepening ties with domestic automakers. It wholly owns Daihatsu Motor Co., and has a 50.2 percent stake in Hino Motors Ltd., a 16.8 percent stake in Subaru Corp. and a 5.1 percent stake in Mazda Motor Corp.

Toyota has provided Suzuki the technology for hybrid vehicles since 2017 to establish a cooperative relationship. Toyota and Suzuki both originate in western Shizuoka Prefecture and their founders have close ties.

By News Desk