By Steve & Tamami Laser with Nahoko Osuka reporting from Japan
Update: In the latest news (August 2017), Toyota and Mazda announced plans to build a joint-venture plant in the U.S. This link will take you to our story.
When Toyota Motor Corporation and Mazda Motor Corporation announced in 2012 that Mazda’s new plant in Mexico would produce a Toyota-brand vehicle for sale in North America we wondered if this was the start of something big? Toyota would get a new car for its American Scion brand while Mazda could increase production efficiency and contribute to its profitability.
Today both companies announced at a joint press conference in Tokyo that they’re ready to expand the partnership. “Toyota Motor Corporation and Mazda Motor Corporation are entering an agreement to forge a long-lasting partnership,” said Akio Toyoda, Toyota President and CEO. “Though this partnership we’ll leverage the resources of both companies to complement and enhance each other’s management, products and technologies.”
“The purpose of the agreement that we sign today is to enable the two companies to cooperate in regards to the multiple issues which the automobile industry is facing today including environmental issues, safety, and globalization of our businesses,” said Masamichi Kogai, Mazda President and CEO. “Both Toyoda and I feel that one of the most important issues is to enhance the basic appeal of the automobile so that cars will remain an essential part of people’s lives in the future.”
Watch the complete Toyota and Mazda joint press conference in this video including a question and answer session with the media. (video: Toyota Global Newsroom)
“This initiative [will] enhance the appeal of our cars so that someone can walk into a showroom and say ‘I really want this car,'” said Toyoda. “What I really want is for Toyota to continue making cars that people will always say they love. To do that we need a team that approaches cars with ambition, always acting with a hands-on approach. There’s nothing more important than nurturing these kinds of people.”
This announcement is the third collaboration the companies have made in the past five years. In 2010, TMC and Mazda reached an agreement on the supply (under license) of hybrid technology used in the Toyota Prius. Mazda combines the hybrid system with its SKYACTIV engine in the Axela (Mazda3) SKYACTIV-Hybrid sold in Japan.
“As evidenced by their SKYACTIV Technologies and KODO―Soul of Motion design, Mazda has proven that it always thinks of what is coming next for vehicles and technology, while still managing to stay true to its basic carmaking roots,” Toyoda said. “In this way, Mazda very much practices what Toyota holds dear: making ever-better cars. I am delighted that our two companies can share the same vision and work together to make cars better. I can think of nothing more wonderful than showing the world―together―that the next 100 years of cars will be just as fun as the first.”
“Toyota is a company that has shown steadfast resolve in acting responsibly on global environmental issues and the future of manufacturing as a whole,” Kogai said. “I also have tremendous respect for Toyota’s dedication in its pursuit of ever-better cars through ongoing innovation. Furthermore, Mazda identifies with the way Toyota cherishes its roots and all of the communities it is involved in. It is no wonder they are held in great esteem in return. I hope that by working together to make cars better, we can raise the value of cars in the eyes of consumers while also enhancing the manufacturing capabilities of our home, Hiroshima, and all the communities we are involved in as well.”
Revealed at the New York Auto Show in March, the new 2016 Scion iA, based on the Mazda2, will be built at Mazda Motor Manufacturing de Mexico. Scion says its first-ever sedan will arrive in U.S. dealerships this fall for an estimated MSRP in the $16,000-range.
During a Q&A session following the formal announcement Toyoda shared an interesting story with the media. “When we visit other companies, we’re usually ushered into the president’s office and exchange niceties,” he said. “But surprisingly I was invited to the test course of Mazda, their proving ground. All the Mazda people who welcomed me were wearing racing suits. They said, ‘Pick any car you like, you can drive any of the cars.’ From my very first visit my expectations were exceeded. That really motivated me that we must pursue ever better cars.”
What’s the next step? The companies say that a joint committee will be set up to evaluate how to best utilize each company’s respective strengths. The committee will “encourage broad and meaningful collaboration across a range of fields, including environmental and advanced safety technologies.”
While it’s unlikely we’ll see a Mazda Roadster wearing a Toyota badge, there’s a good chance that the technology in Toyota’s Mirai fuel-cell vehicle could power a Mazda of the future while Toyota may have greater access to SKYACTIV engine technology for its own next-generation cars. We expect to hear more good news at the Tokyo Motor Show in October.
News source, photos and video from Toyota Motor Corp.
Story ©2015 CarNichiWa.com