Toyota adds makers of tiny cars Daihatsu, Suzuki to technology partnership with Hino, Isuzu

Toyota adds makers of tiny cars Daihatsu, Suzuki to technology partnership with Hino, Isuzu

Toyota Motor Corp. Chief Executive Akio Toyoda noted that kei cars make for a practical and sustainable lifeline for Japan.

Toyota is adding two companies specializing in tiny "kei" cars, Daihatsu and Suzuki, to a commercial vehicle partnership it set up with Hino and Isuzu in March.

The fuel-efficient kei cars, which make up about 40 percent of the Japanese auto market, are defined by their smallness and maximum 0.66-liter engine size. They are popular with farmers, deliveries, and retailers.

Their tiny size allows ease of maneuvering through Japan’s tiny roads and fitting into small parking spots.

Toyota Motor Corp. Chief Executive Akio Toyoda noted that kei cars make for a practical and sustainable lifeline for Japan.

Suzuki President Toshihiro Suzuki said keis are “works of art” crucial to Japanese society and was so happy to learn that Toyoda shared the same vision as him.

Dubbed the Commercial Japan Partnership, the joint venture unites Toyota, Isuzu Motors, and Hino Motors in working in electric, hydrogen, connected, and autonomous technologies. The JV can help automakers cut costs and boost efficiency.

The three vehicle manufacturers collectively control 80 percent of Japan’s truck market.

Capitalized at $91,000, the JV will be 60 percent owned by Toyota, with 10 percent each belonging to Isuzu, Hino, Suzuki, and Daihatsu.

While acknowledging that the other JV members are rivals, Toyoda said there is a need to collaborate to benefit customers.

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