Toyota Motor Corp. has begun purchasing electric motors for hybrid cars from Hitachi, according to a report in the Nihon Keizai Shimbun.
This marks the automaker’s first procurement of a key hybrid car component from a nongroup firm. It is also Toyota’s first large-scale dealing with Hitachi, which traditionally has had close ties with Nissan.
Nissan is launching a hybrid version of the Altima based on Toyota’s technology. (Earlier post.)
To meet surging demand, Toyota has been stepping up efforts to boost production of hybrid car parts as well as looking for supplier. After examining candidates including affiliated parts makers, Toyota chose Hitachi, which makes power generator turbines and many other products, for its general expertise in electric motors.
Following the signing of the contract, Hitachi started supplying rear motors for the Harrier Hybrid (the Japanese Rx 400h) and Kluger Hybrid (the Japanese Highlander hybrid). (Earlier post.)
Last week, Toyota made Panasonic EV Energy, a joint venture with Matsushita that provides NiMH batteries, into a subsidiary by increasing its stake to 60%. (Earlier post.)
Toyota is forecasting worldwide hybrid car sales of 300,000 units in 2005. By 2010, the company believes that its global hybrid car sales will grow to 1 million units a year.