Suzuki hasn't had a new car in the US for years, while Toyota continues its sales domination. A new partnership won't change that, but it will let both companies exercise their strengths without wasting a ton of money on other pursuits.
Toyota and Suzuki announced on Wednesday that the two automakers have agreed to a wide-reaching collaboration that will see each company lending its strengths to the other, in addition to working together on other projects. The two first signed a memorandum of understanding in February, but now, we have a better idea of what will be shared.
Toyota's strengths lie in electrification. To that end, Toyota will lend its hybrid system to Suzuki for use in its vehicles around the world. Toyota will also work on expanding electrification in India "through local procurement of [hybrid electric vehicle] systems, engines and batteries." Finally, Toyota will supply two vehicles based on electrified Toyota platforms to Suzuki for use in Europe.
Suzuki, on the other hand, has made great strides in compact vehicles and compact-car powertrains. Suzuki will provide Toyota with two compact vehicles on Suzuki platforms for use in India. In addition, Toyota will adopt Suzuki compact-car engines for use in Europe, which will be manufactured at a Toyota facility in Poland. Suzuki will also supply some of its India-produced vehicles to Toyota for expansion into Africa.
Finally, there are the collaborative efforts. Toyota and Suzuki will jointly develop a C-segment MPV (think a compact crossover), which Suzuki will use in India. The second collaboration also benefits the Indian market, with Toyota manufacturing Suzuki's Vitara Brezza SUV at its Toyota Kirloskar Motor facility in India.
Those of you looking for an American resurgence of Suzuki might want to keep hoping, not that the chances are good. But this new partnership once again proves that making moves is expensive in the auto industry, and some OEMs are better off sharing costs and efforts by partnering up to achieve new goals. The companies intend to deepen their partnership, but both reaffirmed that they remain rivals in terms of actual sales.