Toyota is set to take a 5 percent stake in Mazda as part of an offensive plan of action in order to ward off rivals in the US market. Mazda is also taking a token 0.25 percent in the Japanese giant.
The move comes as part of Toyota’s plans to establish a new joint-venture plant in the US and set up a research and development unit for electric cars.
Mazda will work on the overall architecture of electric cars while Toyota will be responsible on the battery and power unit side of things. The electric car hardware and software will be developed jointly, but produced separately and in varying degrees.
They’re also looking at connected car tech, both in the vehicle to vehicle and vehicle to infrastructure communication segments.
The Toyota-Mazda deal comes during a tidal wave of acquisitions faced by Japan’s smaller automakers, as the “Big Three” of Japan - Toyota, Honda and Nissan - are bringing the rest of the manufacturers under their influence. Nissan recently acquired 34 percent of Mitsubishi following a huge controversy over faked fuel economy figures by the latter - Honda is much less aggressive, although their partnerships with Hitachi and Waymo make them well equipped for the coming age of digital cars.