Toyota Motor Corp. will supply the hybrid technology used in the Prius to Mazda Motor Corp., enabling the Hiroshima-based automaker to produce its first hybrid sedan, the two carmakers said Monday.
Mazda will start to develop and produce a hybrid vehicle in Japan and plans to start selling the model by 2013, the companies said.
The alliance enables Mazda to avoid the expense of developing hybrid technology on its own while allowing Toyota to cut the cost of hybrid production by increasing output of hybrid parts. The partnership follows the weakening of Mazda’s 40- year-old ties to Ford Motor Co.
“It’s a win-win relationship for both companies,” said Koji Endo, managing director at Advanced Research Japan. “The pact will help Toyota lower costs by selling more and saves Mazda having to develop its own hybrid system, which can cost between ¥50 billion to ¥100 billion.”
Ford has reduced its holding in Mazda to 11 percent from 33 percent since 2008 and said in December it would develop future models without the Japanese carmaker. As demand for hybrid, electric and other next-generation cars increases, smaller carmakers like Mazda may find it too expensive to develop the technology alone.
Mazda made the request for the alliance last year, Mazda Executive Vice President Masaharu Yamaki said.
Toyota currently provides Ford and Nissan Motor Co. with hybrid-related technology.
Mazda has a gas-electric version of its Tribute sport utility vehicle, which uses Ford’s hybrid system. It sold 173 units through the first 11 months of 2009. Mazda also developed a hydrogen-powered hybrid, but it is not for sale. Toyota’s Prius has been the best-selling car in Japan for nine straight months.
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