The day may come when Suzuki will have to merge with another automaker. But that day is not today. Instead, the Japanese manufacturer has announced a partnership with one of the biggest names in the industry for the future development of the automobile.
Following the opening of an exploratory process announced back in October, Suzuki and Toyota this week signed a partnership memorandum covering a broad range of areas crucial to developing and producing automobiles.
Those include environmental, safety, and information technologies, as well as the reciprocal supply of components – and possibly even complete vehicles. Suzuki has similar (though apparently less comprehensive) arrangements with other Japanese automakers, including Mazda and Nissan, on the production of certain Kei cars – an area in which Suzuki has arguably demonstrated superior expertise compared to its rivals.
The deal stops short of Toyota assuming partial ownership in Suzuki (as GM and Volkswagen both previously attempted to undertake). Though it recently withdrew from the North American automotive market, Suzuki still ranks among the top ten carmakers in the world. And that’s not even including its motorcycles, ATVs, watercraft, and other products that has it diversified in similar fashion to Honda and Yamaha.
With 3 million vehicles sold last year, Suzuki ranks among Japanese automakers behind only Toyota, Nissan, and Honda, and sold about twice as many vehicles as Mazda did last year. Toyota recently acquired a majority stake in Daihatsu and owns a sixth of Subaru (which otherwise remains resolutely independent), while Nissan has all but completely subsumed Mitsubishi. But Suzuki looks poised to remain independent for as long as possible.