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Suzuki and Toyota announce partnership plans

By raccars Published

Toyota Avensis

Toyota and Suzuki explore R&D collaboration on safety, IT and green technology.

Toyota has admitted that it has fallen behind European and American rivals and now the company plans to merge its research and development resources with those of Suzuki in a bid to win back some ground. The company's merger would be the latest to follow the popular trend of car manufacturer collaborations. These are increasingly being seen as a cost-effecting way of driving forward technological advancements and keeping up with, or even ahead of, the pack.

A way to go for Toyota and Suzuki

The two Japanese companies have announced that they are exploring the idea of a business partnership in a bid to take on their collaborative European counterparts, including the Renault-Nissan Alliance, PSA and VW Group. Both brands have admitted that they have a way to go if they want to match the standards being reached by others in the automotive industry, according to an official press statement from Toyota.

The statement said that Suzuki was increasingly feeling uncertain about the field of technology research and development, whilst Toyota is conscious that it could be lagging behind its European and American competitors in certain areas.

The Toyota and Suzuki partnership would enable both brands to pool their research and development resources, using the expertise available to each company to develop greener power trains, fast-track autonomous driving technology and other advanced safety systems, and to improve car technology overall. The two companies also hope to boost efficiency when it comes to their manufacturing set-up and infrastructure.

Toyota to utilise Suzuki's small car know-how

Reports came out of Japan earlier in the year suggesting that Toyota had the intention of buying Suzuki outright. It seems, however, that a partnership deal is the preferred option. Toyota wants to cash in on the experience of Suzuki in terms of the small car market in Japan and Europe even though it bought out Daihatsu, the ‘kei-car’ specialist’ during 2016.

The statement from Toyota also suggests that it would like at least one other manufacturer, probably from Japan, to become involved in the collaboration, saying that the brand is ‘open’ to the idea of other companies joining in. There has been no indication yet as to what type of models would result from this arrangement, with Toyota simply claiming that it will help with the creation of what it terms ‘ever-better cars’.

More news from Toyota

Toyota’s European head, meanwhile, has admitted that the future of the Toyota Avensis saloon is under discussion as a result of falling sales in the family saloon market. Several brands have already abandoned their family saloons and estates completely, choosing to focus on SUVs instead. Accordingly, Toyota Europe’s CEO and president Johan van Zyl has said that they are looking at the Avensis.

The Toyota car is built at the company’s Burnaston facility in Derbyshire and is a rival to the Vauxhall Insignia and Ford Mondeo. Van Zyl said that the cars’ market segment was being considered by the company and questions were being asked. He said that the company was ‘satisfied’ with the Avensis’ performance but that the brand was looking at whether more D-segment saloons were needed in the future or whether the focus should change to something else.

The current Avensis generation model was launched in 2009 and received a facelift in 2015. This means that Toyota would ordinarily have been looking to replace it within the next year-and-a-half. Earlier in 2016, Citroen quietly dispensed with its C5 saloon as a result of disappointing sales. Could the Toyota Avensis be one of the next saloons to receive the axe?

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