Toyota and Mazda announced plans on Friday to build a A$2 billion assembly plant in the United States and work together to develop electric cars and advanced safety technologies.
The plant is expected to produce up to 300,000 cars a year and create jobs for 4000 workers. It is expected to begin operations in 2021, but a location for the plant has not yet been decided.
Friday’s announcement builds on an existing partnership. Toyota, which makes the Prius hybrid, Camry sedan and Lexus luxury models, already provides hybrid technology to Mazda, which makes compact cars for Toyota at its Mexico plant.
Toyota will produce the Corolla model for the North American market at the new factory, while Mazda will make cross-over models there.
Toyota will acquire a five per cent stake in Mazda, valued at 50 billion yen (A$570 million). In turn, Mazda will acquire 50 billion yen worth of Toyota shares, the equivalent of a 0.25 per cent stake.
“The greatest fruit of our partnership with Mazda is that we have found a new partner who truly loves cars,” said Toyota President Akio Toyoda. “It has also sparked Toyota’s competitive spirit, increasing our sense of not wanting to be bested by Mazda. This is a partnership in which those who are passionate about cars will work together to make ever-better cars. It is also the realisation of our desire to never let cars become commodities.”
“Nothing would please me more than if, through this alliance, we can help to energise the auto industry and create more car fans by bringing together two competitive spirits to spur each other on, leading to innovations and fostering talent and leaders,” said Mazda President and CEO Masamichi Kogai.
The alliance grew out of a May 2015 agreement between Mazda and Toyota to “mutually benefit the companies in such forms as leveraging the resources of both companies and complementing each other’s products and technologies toward the goal of making more appealing cars,” Toyota said in a statement.