Major Japanese car groups join forces in the small electric car sector. The announcement came today at a press conference where the groups announced the creation of a commercial joint venture in which Toyota will have a majority. In detail, Toyota will have a 60% stake in the Commercial Japan Partnership (capital of 91 thousand dollars) while the Suzuki, Daihatsu, Isuzu and Hino groups will keep a stake of 10% each. The joint venture will enable the development of mini electric vehicles, the key cars a very popular automotive segment in Japan, accounting for almost 40% of the vehicles in circulation in the country, used in the city mainly for deliveries. They are an oriental version of micro cars and have 660 cubic centimeters or 47 Kw motors in the electric version.
“Mini-vehicles can play an important role in making a company carbon neutral and in the spread of new automotive technologies (electric, connected, shared and autonomous vehicles, ed), but in this era of profound transformations, there are many challenges that mini-vehicle manufacturers cannot face alone “, underlined the houses automakers in the joint note. Toyota also holds a majority stake in truck manufacturer Hino and in March acquired 4.6% of Isuzu, a Japanese group specializing in light commercial vehicles.
Toyota’s number one, Akio Toyoda, acknowledged that the companies involved are rivals, but they must work together for the benefit of customers, reducing costs and increasing efficiency. Kei models are not suitable for export to the West but have potential for other areas of Asia, such as India, where Suzuki is a major player. Toyota and Suzuki have had a partnership in the subcompact sector since 2016 and have a cross-shareholding since 2019. Suzuki chairman Toshihiro Suzuki said he regards kei as crucial “works of art” for the Japanese company. “I was happy to learn that President Toyoda has the same vision as me,” commented Suzuki.