Toyota and Suzuki will form a capital alliance, the Japanese automakers said on Wednesday, as they look to accelerate technological development and meet sweeping changes upending the global auto industry.
The deal will see Toyota pay about 96 billion yen ($910 million) for a 4.94 percent stake in smaller Suzuki, while Suzuki will acquire around 48 billion yen worth of shares in Toyota.
That is equivalent to 0.2 percent of Toyota's shares as of Wednesday's closing price, before the announcement.
The two automakers said in a joint statement they intended to overcome new challenges facing the industry by "building and deepening cooperative relationships in new fields while continuing to be competitors."
They said they would strengthen technologies and products in which each of them specialize.
"Toyota is getting Suzuki at an attractive valuation," said Janet Lewis, an analyst at Macquarie Capital Securities (Japan) Ltd. "It appears to be very similar to the mutual investments made between Toyota and Mazda."
The tie-up highlights the challenges for automakers as they fight to keep up with the breakneck growth in an industry that has been transformed by the rise of electric vehicles, ride-hailing and autonomous driving.
Toyota and Suzuki said in 2016 they were exploring a partnership, citing technological challenges and the need to keep up with industry consolidation. The pair earlier this year announced a tie-up to produce electric vehicles and compact cars for each other.
Toyota has been looking to expand scale in next-generation technology and said this year it would offer free access to patents for EV motors and power control units. It believes that move would help it cut by as much as half the outlays for expanded electric and hybrid vehicle components in the United States, China and Japan.
Supplying rivals would greatly expand the scale of production for hardware.
Suzuki, which specializes in affordable small cars, had been struggling to keep pace with the huge costs of investing in research and development for automated driving functions.
Suzuki said it will use 20 billion yen of the proceeds on development of new technologies including autonomous driving, and the remainder to replenish its capital.
Suzuki has been seeking to team up with a larger carmaker after an acrimonious split with Volkswagen.
Toyota has budgeted about seven times more on research and development than Suzuki for this fiscal year, and the smaller automaker has pointed to the soaring cost of making competitive cars as a reason to join forces with a partner.
Toyota said in June it aims to get half of its global sales from electrified vehicles by 2025, five years ahead of schedule, and will tap Chinese battery makers to meet the accelerated shift to electric cars.
Toyota ha acquistato il 5% di Suzuki, le 2 case nipponiche collaborano proficuamente su diversi progetti da alcuni anni. Suzuki è molto ben gestita ma non ha la massa critica per sopravvivere quindi ha fatto un buon affare.
L’aspetto che mi interessa è la sistemazione delle case giapponesi minori imposta dal governo. Dopo la crisi degli anni ‘90 solo Toyota e Honda rimasero indipendenti. Nissan fu conquistata da Renault, Mitsubishi da Daimlerchrysler, Mazda da Ford mentre Gm acquisì quote importanti in Isuzu, Subaru e Suzuki.
Per vicissitudini varie le case estere hanno dovuto vendere le loro partecipazioni e le piccole case nipponiche sono ritornate indipendenti eppure rimanevano sottodimensionate. Il governo Abe allora ha spinto Toyota a acquisire quote minoritarie ma con importanti risvolti di scambi tecnologici in Subaru, Isuzu, Suzuki e Mazda. È il nuovo volto del nazionalismo economico, uno dei tanti velenosi ricordi che la scimmia arancione di Washington ci lascerà. La ciliegina sulla torta potrebbe essere la cacciata degli odiati mangiarane da Nissan.