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Automakers are collaborating to contain costs, advance new technologies

Friday, August 14, 2015 - 06:00
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While still retaining separate and competitive showroom ledger sheets and parts distribution channels, global automakers are increasingly setting rivalries aside by forming mutually beneficial development deals. These alliances are designed to mitigate the costs and complexities of meeting varied international regulatory requirements and converting the latest automotive innovations into marketable vehicle platforms.

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Toyota and Mazda are in the process of leveraging their respective resources via an agreement to “complement and enhance” each OEM’s products and technologies.

Although a joint committee is currently evaluating and negotiating the exact terms of the cooperative efforts, consolidations and closures are unlikely to occur among American sales outlets and their component distribution networks, according to Mazda spokesman Nick Beard.

“It’s not a sales partnership, so it won’t have any impact on our dealerships,” Beard says. “This partnership is very new and thus the details are still being worked through,” yet the flow of replacement parts from the two Japanese automakers is expected to remain intact without significant changes.

Prior joint endeavors involved the licensing of Toyota’s hybrid technologies to Mazda and the production of compact cars for Toyota at Mazda’s plant in Mexico.

“The previous projects were individual projects relating to specific regions, products and units. This new partnership aims to build medium- to long-term synergy focused on the concept of creating new value for cars,” says Toyota spokeswoman Toni Honsowetz. “For example, the major differences include the possibility of expanding the scope of collaboration without placing limits on regions or technical areas, and the possibility of creating new technologies and products beyond the mutual supply of existing products and technologies.”

The anticipated attributes, she says, address:

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