Toyota Motor Corp has shown interest to buy the entire stake of Daihatsu (worth USD3.2 billion) and at the same time denied allegations of a potential tie-up with Suzuki. If any of these were proved to be true, the move will certainly spring about considerable impact on our national cars.
As we all know, Japanese automotive conglomerate, Toyota, owns a few Japanese brands such as Lexus, Hino, and Daihatsu (albeit with a stake of 51.19 percent). Daihatsu has a long established working relationship with Perodua, and as we have seen lately, the small car expert’s main rival is Suzuki, who has just inked the agreement to collaborate with Proton.
Toyota foresees that its acquisition of Daihatsu will allow them to leverage on the lower-cost brand with better efficiency. At the same time, Toyota could use the “Dacia” model by Renault by introducing the Daihatsu brand as a low-cost, affordable vehicle to developing nations. Its Japanese counterpart, Nissan, has already followed the similar playbook via the revival of the Datsun brand.
More so, Daihatsu is currently the group’s underperformer, as sales in 2015 fell by 13.3 percent. Hence, some cash injection from Toyota will be a good boost for both companies. Daihatsu holds a steady position in South East Asia, thanks in part to Perodua who has contributed plenty to Daihatsu’s fortunes.
However, Suzuki’s strong brand presence in India (via Maruti Motors) has stirred Toyota’s interest and will allow Toyota to penetrate the world’s second most populated country in the world.
Suzuki, being a small manufacturer, will be delighted if they are given access to Toyota’s HEV/FCV and other next-generation powertrain in order to develop future Suzuki models. That said, Suzuki remains cautious with tie-ups after its ties with Volkswagen was severed.
Shares from all three companies rose today, with Daihatsu being the biggest gainer at 16 percent, followed by Suzuki at 11 percent. As announced recently, Toyota also retained its title as the world’s top-selling car manufacturer for the fourth year with 10.15 million cars sold in 2015.
So here’s the interesting bit. Based on the two possible scenarios, if Toyota confirms its takeover of Daihatsu, Perodua could clearly benefit from this. This may allow Malaysia’s second car manufacturer to gain access to all Toyota’s parts and technology, unless told otherwise. For example, Perodua may just be able to produce a hybrid vehicle based on Toyota’s famed Hybrid Synergy Drive. A Perodua Myvi hybrid on the cards, perhaps?
However, things will be way off the wall should Toyota choose to go with Suzuki. Toyota could potentially gain indirect ownership of both Proton and Perodua, and Toyota will do henceforth is anyone’s guess. With Proton announcing their brand new engine lineup, just how well will the powertrain work in tandem with Toyota’s technologies? Are we looking at a possible unification, just like British-Leyland?