Suzuki and Daihatsu join technology coalition

Suzuki and Daihatsu are the latest Japanese vehicle manufacturers to invest into Commercial Japan Partnership Technologies.

The joint venture was set up in April to develop electrification and autonomous driving in commercial vehicles.

Toyota retains 60 per cent ownership and Hino and Isuzu are existing minority stakeholders.

Toyota and Suzuki took stakes in each in 2019 and Daihatsu became a subsidiary of Toyota in 2016.

As the world’s largest vehicle manufacturer, Toyota has been strengthening its alliances and shareholdings with smaller manufacturers of passenger and commercial vehicles in order to increase the resources anticipated to be needed to commercialise the shift away from internal combustion engines as well as high technology developments such as autonomous vehicles.

This follows the establishment of similar co-operative technology sharing by European manufacturers such as Volvo and Daimler and Volkswagen’s Traton Group which includes Scania and MAN.

Isuzu has also purchased UD Trucks from Volvo.

Suzuki and Daihatsu have plenty of experience in the manufacture of smaller automobiles used by consumers and businesses, which account for about 31 million of the 78 million vehicles in Japan.

A key challenge of bringing electrification and autonomous technology to smaller cars is keeping costs under control so they can remain affordable.

“There are many issues that mini-vehicle manufacturers are unable to solve on their own,” Suzuki and Daihatsu said in a joint statement this week.

Daihatsu’s President Soichiro Okudaira said joining the alliance and introducing connected, mini-commercial vehicles would allow data sharing which is a major benefit for companies to provide better services to customers and improve logistics efficiency.

“With Suzuki and Daihatsu joining the project and working together, we’ll be able to expand our circle of cooperation to not only cover commercial vehicles but also mini vehicles,” said Toyota President Akio Toyoda.