Toyota and Mazda Officially Announced Agreement
The partnership between Toyota and Mazda is now official, as announced by Toyota President Akio Toyoda and Mazda President and CEO Masamichi Kogai. The specifics of the agreement are vague at this point, but Toyoda described the relationship as an engagement rather than a marriage. The first step will be setting up a joint committee to review each companies’ strengths and then evaluate how best to integrate to two.
Going by comments made by the two company heads, the agreement will impact both companies’ core products. Toyota currently licenses its hybrid expertise to Mazda, which is an agreement that could expand to fuel cell technology. On the flipside, Mazda is supplying the Mazda2 as the underpinnings for the upcoming Scion iA. Expect more of this sort of thing moving forward.
During the announcement, Toyoda expressed admiration for Mazda’s SkyActiv engine tech and current KODO design language, while Kogai praised Toyota’s leadership in hybrid technology and commitment to cleaner cars. Both stressed that the primary goal of the agreement will be to make better cars.
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Why it matters
For a short time in the 1930s, Albert Einstein considered the idea of an oscillating universe theory. (Stay with me on this one.) That is, a singularity followed by a Big Bang and a period of expansion. Once the universe reached its maximum size, gravitational forces would then pull all matter back to its origin point to form a new singularity. Even though it’s been proven incorrect in the field of astrophysics, Einstein may have considered applying it to the international auto industry.
Following the market crash of 2008, the world’s largest car companies began spinning off subsidiaries (Mazda, Volvo, Jaguar) or closing them down (Mercury, Saturn, Oldsmobile) to cut down on overhead and keep their heads above water. The car universe had just experienced a big bang, and everything had been blown apart.
Now, the car universe is cooling and planetary bodies are beginning to coalesce again, as evidenced by this new alliance between Mazda and Toyota. Head of Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles Sergio Marchionne has also recently been very vocal about his desire to form new partnerships, citing the skyrocketing costs of developing cleaner, more fuel-efficient cars, on which companies could be cooperating.
It makes sense from a business standpoint, but, as an enthusiast I fear this trend could cause cars to become even more homologous of one another than they already are.
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