Autonomous Vehicles

Toyota, Suzuki ink partnership deal for future technologies

Both Japanese automakers said autonomous car technologies will be a focus.

Toyota Logo

Toyota and Suzuki have tied the knot.

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As the automotive industry continues to rapidly change, even some of the largest companies are looking for allies to bring future technology to market as quickly as possible. Ford and Volkswagen have teamed up, Honda and General Motors are partners, and the list goes on.

Add Toyota and Suzuki to that list, because both Japanese automakers announced a partnership for collaborating on research and development. Both named autonomous car technologies as one of the main areas of focus. Unlike some other partnerships, this one involves ownership stakes. Toyota will purchase a 4.94% stake in Suzuki for roughly $908 million at current exchange rates. Suzuki will spend $455 million to acquire shares of Toyota -- a far smaller share of Toyota.

The two companies underscored challenges such as increased environmental regulations and the need to develop future autonomous vehicle technologies. For Suzuki, it earns a massive partner with which to work on future technologies. The small Japanese automaker, which no longer does business in the US, said it will focus on its specialties within the new partnership.

Toyota has increasingly looked to expand itself into the field of self-driving vehicles. It previously partnered with China's Geely and Baidu to work on an open-source autonomous technology platform. Just this week, it announced it would work with Chinese startup Pony.ai on self-driving car systems and carry out real-world tests next month. In a major decision, Toyota also declared it would offer its patents for electric motors and power units for free. For Toyota, it hopes an open-source approach will help spur innovation and economies of scale.

Aside from Suzuki, Toyota also has small stakes in numerous other automakers including Subaru and Mazda. Toyota also holds interests in Daihatsu and Yamaha.

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