Following speculations of a possible takeover of either Daihatsu and Suzuki, Toyota Motor Corp has just announced that it will be owning a full stake of Daihatsu at about $3 billion. Daihatsu, Japan’s longest-surviving carmaker, has been under Toyota’s wing since 1998 and right now Daihatsu’s fortunes are far from satisfactory.
Toyota assured that the Daihatsu brand will be retained and be given an “equal position with the Toyota and Lexus brands”. Apart from that, the two companies will share bases of operations and co-operate on the development of new technology for small cars. This could create more collaborations like the Toyota Sirion/Daihatsu Boon (aka, our Perodua Myvi) in the past be formed between two companies.
At the same time, Daihatsu gains access to Toyota’s wide range of technologies, ranging from hybrid powertrains, autonomous driving technology and so on. Toyota will also learn from Daihatsu’s expertise in the areas of packaging, efficiency and miniaturisation.
Interestingly, Toyota President Akio Toyoda, cited that the company’s goal for Daihatsu is to become what Mini is to BMW. What Daihatsu will be is a global brand, producing higher quality compact cars for markets like Europe and America. This too means that their footing in Indonesia will be firmer in the times to come.
While this may spell bad news for Suzuki, Perodua will surely be delighted as this could see the company leverage on Toyota’s larger pool of technologies thanks to their latest acquisition. If Toyota were to market the Daihatsu brand as a premium compact carmaker, then Perodua may just be Toyota’s answer to Datsun or Dacia. In simpler terms, Perodua could be positioned as Toyota’s budget brand in emerging markets.
Daihatsu’s history can be traced back to 1907 in Osaka, Japan, and has been an important player of minicars in Japan. In Malaysia, Daihatsu used to sell small passenger cars like the Charade hatchback and Feroza jeep, but sales of passenger cars halted when Perodua emerged before the mid-nineties. At this point of time, Daihatsu sells only commercial vehicles in Malaysia.