While Suzuki decided to high-tail it out of the United States market a few years ago, the company and its periodically spider-infested cars are still around. They’re especially big in India and other developing markets in Asia. That’s why its announcement of a partnership or maybe even a merger with auto giant Toyota has industry watchers intrigued.
The New York Times reports that local affiliate called Maruti Suzuki is a major auto seller in India, where Suzuki sells small and relatively inexpensive cars compared to the products that Toyota makes for customers in Japan, Europe, and the U.S. Toyota could use an entry to the developing Indian market.
Both automakers still have their founding families involved in management, and have taken the unusual step of having a news conference to announce that they’re discussing some unspecified alliance. Chairman Osamu Suzuki and president and CEO Akio Toyoda appeared at the conference, emphasizing its importance even while it was pretty vague about the companies’ actual plans.
Suzuki, has partnered with larger automakers before: General Motors was once an investor and manufacturing partner until the larger company’s 2008 bankruptcy, and Volkswagen later purchased the same stake and took on the same role. Well, until VW began purchasing small engines from Fiat, which Suzuki claimed was a breach of their agreement, and thing deteriorated from there.
Toyota likes to hang out with its fellow Japanese automakers: it also owns 16.5% of the parent company of Subaru, and the two companies teamed up to design and manufacture a car that’s sold as the Toyota 86, or the Subaru BRZ.
Toyota and Suzuki Say They Are Considering an Alliance [New York Times]
by Laura Northrup via Consumerist