Early Friday morning, Toyota and Mazda confirmed plans to collaborate on a new $1.6 billion US-based assembly plant which create as many as 4,000 jobs. This is nothing new for Toyota, who already operates several factors across the United States but Mazda has not run a plant in America since its previous—and quite long-running—joint venture from several years ago. That venture, though, was a partnership with Ford.
Toyota President Akio Toyoda acknowledged, “The greatest fruit of our partnership with Mazda is that we have found a new partner who truly loves cars. It has also sparked Toyota’s competitive spirit, increasing our sense of not wanting to be bested by Mazda.”
And these fruits could yield quite a bounty. Estimates, right now, show that the new plant could be capable of producing as many as 300,000 vehicles per year on the backs of roughly 4,000 employees.
On the other side, Mazda President and CEO, Masamichi Kogai, noted, “Nothing would please me more than if, through this alliance, we can help to energize 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.”
Of course, this partnership might have had a little push from US President Donald Trump’s pressure to build more vehicles in US factories. Some speculate that this declaration may, in fact, be a major reason for Mazda suddenly deciding to start manufacturing autos in the US again and a major reason Toyota has chosen to make a bigger market impact.
At least, that is what Lean Enterprise Institute chief executive John Shook suggests. Noting that Toyota and Mazda have had an enduring relationship, he comments, “Mazda has been studying the Toyota Production System, with direct help from Toyota, since the 1970s.” The former Toyota engineer adds, “So this is an easy marriage for both parties.”
In addition, Toyota also announced, on Friday, that it will also take a 5 percent stake in Mazda in regards to their joint electric vehicle development programs. It is just the latest alliance Japan’s largest automaker has forged with other smaller companies. For example, Toyota also has a 16.5 percent stake in Subaru Corp, which is Japan’s sixth largest automaker.