Duo also set to build new stateside assembly plant for $1.6 billion

Toyota and Mazda just announced a new partnership wherein the Japanese automakers will jointly develop electric vehicles. The partnership also includes a forthcoming $1.6 billion assembly plant at an as of yet unannounced location, with production scheduled to ramp up by the year 2021. The plant will create upwards of 300,000 vehicles annually and employ roughly 4,000 U.S. workers, prompting a Tweet from President Trump, who praised the announcement as a “great investment in American manufacturing.” The plant will initially build models of the Toyota Corolla and a new Mazda SUV, with the possibility for EVs sometime in the future. The partnership includes a 5 percent stake in Mazda for Toyota and a 0.25 percent stake in Toyota for Mazda, with the possibility for expansion in the future. Toyota and Mazda will also work together in developing infotainment tech and autonomous driving tech.

The partnership is framed as a major step forward for EV development for both companies. “There will be new rivals appearing – Apple, Google – these are IT companies, we also need to compete with them, too,” said Toyota President Akio Toyoda, according to Reuters. “What’s different from the past is that there are no nautical charts for us to follow. It’s without precedent,” he added with regards to EV tech and alternative vehicle power sources. Without a doubt, this new partnership marks further expansion of the EV segment as a whole and the expectation of widespread EV adoption in the near future.

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2016 Toyota Mirai Exterior
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It’s been said a million times before, but I can’t help but reiterate – the auto world is changing very quickly, and anyone sitting on the sidelines is gonna get left in the dust. Partnerships like this make a whole lot sense when it comes to technology development – forging the auto landscape of the future take a lot of resources, so why not share the burden, so to speak?

Of course, when it comes to EVs and alternative power vehicles, the behemoth Toyota certainly seems to have the leg up on the much smaller Mazda. The Toyota Prius and the Toyota Mirai both readily come to mind.

So that’s great for Mazda. But what’s Toyota getting out of it? For one, less competition from a tech company like Apple or Google, which might go looking for a car company to call its own.

2016 Toyota Mirai High Resolution Exterior
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That’s great for Mazda. But what’s Toyota getting out of it? For one, less competition from a tech company like Apple or Google.

“For a technology company which lacks the expertise in making cars, Mazda could look like a very interesting acquisition. They’re very good, they’re not too expensive. Maybe Toyota realizes this,” said CLSA managing director Chris Richter, as reported by Reuters. “By buying a 5 percent stake, Toyota takes Mazda off the table rather than having it sit out there like a free agent which could someday be used against them.”

The autonomous tech mention is also an interesting little nugget. The race to be the first to offer fully autonomous drive systems is really starting to heat up, with both tech companies and automakers making moves as of late.

All told, these sorts of partnerships are sure to become more and more commonplace as development in these spaces continues to ramp up.

References

Toyota Prius

2016 Toyota Prius High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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Read our full review on the Toyota Prius.

Toyota Mirai

2016 Toyota Mirai High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Read our full review on the Toyota Mirai

Source: Reuters

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