Japan’s carmakers pool up R&D resources image

Taking not of the European’s rival practices of joining forces, the Japanese automakers are now banding up as well, joining forces into a newly established association.

Eight carmakers, including Toyota and Honda, have decided to jointly collaborate on internal combustion engine research, aiming to be able to better compete in the segment against the European automakers – which had been doing the same for years already.

“With gasoline-electric hybrid cars and fuel cell vehicles being introduced, the range of technologies that carmakers must develop is expanding, even though the number of researchers is not,” said Keiji Ohtsu, head of Honda research and development.

Ohtsu has also been appointed to lead the Research Association of Automotive Internal Combustion Engines (AICE), which received a funding of 500 million yen ($4.9 million) from the manufacturers, but also another 500 million yen as a government subsidy.

“In terms of technologies, we don’t think we are losing against European carmakers. But in terms of the efficiency of how development is being done, we are lagging behind,” Ohtsu said at a news conference.

The association, which also includes universities besides automakers, is set to concentrate its research on growing by 30% the fuel efficiency of existing gasoline and diesel engines by 2020.

Via Automotive News Europe