Suzuki Motor Corporation (Suzuki) and Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) have agreed to start exploring ideas that are directed towards a business partnership.
In a joint statement, the two companies said that, given the rapid change in the auto industry, the industry is required to work not only on conventional automobile R&D, but also on R&D for advanced and future technologies in the fields including environment, safety, and IT. In addition to the R&D that is conducted by individual companies, it is increasingly important to work together with other companies on areas such as infrastructure development, as well as the establishment of new industrial standards.
With its primary focus on minivehicles, Suzuki has been consistently refining its technologies so as to develop vehicles with high price competitiveness. However, in the face of the advanced and future technology R&D field, Suzuki is increasingly feeling a sense of uncertainty.
On the other hand, although Toyota has been working on R&D in the environment, safety, and information technology fields, Toyota is conscious of the fact that it may be behind competitors in North America and Europe when it comes to the establishment of standardizations and partnership with other companies.
Toyota and Suzuki just started exploring on any opportunities for collaboration, with the belief that it will help both companies solve their respective challenges. This discussion is based on the prerequisite that both companies continue to compete with each other in a fair and independent manner. Toyota and Suzuki will also be open to other companies regarding this collaboration idea, and aims for standardization in the industry.
Technical competition, such as in the area of information technologies, has been changing drastically at an unprecedented speed. In addition to efforts to tackle environmental and energy issues, as well as to ensure our customers' safety and security, we are required to work on the R&D of advanced and future technologies, such as on automated driving.
However, in these fields, there is a limit to the R&D which each company is conducting individually. We have to be mindful of the management resource, and additionally, be conscious that it is increasingly important to collaborate with other companies on the coordination of infrastructure and the creation of partnerships for the establishment of industrial standards.
At the joint news conference held with Daihatsu earlier this year, I said that Toyota is not really good at creating alliances. Traditionally, Toyota had been fixated on the need to be able to cover all of our own bases. However, as the surrounding environment is changing drastically, we need to have capability to respond to changes in order to survive. This is exactly the challenge that Toyota has to overcome now.
We at Toyota are now making efforts for the future, such as through our initiatives which help to promote the creation of a hydrogen society, as well as R&D in the artificial intelligence and robotics fields. In these areas, we are collaborating with other companies to work together on R&D. Although we are still halfway there, I believe that we have to go forward with the understanding of the importance of the need to create partnerships and the establishment of standardizations.—Toyota President Akio Toyoda