The Japanese automakers Toyota and Mazda recently announced a partnership described by Toyota president Akio Toyoda to be akin to an “engagement” – the latest move in the drive towards industry consolidation.
When comparing the running scales of the two carmakers – one the largest in the world and the other a second-tier manufacturer, we could easily believe it’s revolving around Mazda’s survival. But if anyone knows a little more about the latter, it’s easy to understand it’s not the case. True, after Ford ceased its long-running (decades) loving relationship with Mazda, many analysts and industry experts have wondered if the little automaker can survive in the tough environment. But thanks to its usual tradition of delivering fun, sporty vehicles that are now complimented by an up to speed technical platform under the SkyActiv generic nomenclature and the currency tailwinds from the weaker yen, Mazda has been easily afloat. Mazda does indeed need a deep-pocket “friend” that would share technology and take the load off its own research and development unit.
And not to mention that being a small and nimble auto player can go a long way in terms of hard lessons for a titan like Toyota. Even president Akio Toyoda accepts that Mazda is ahead of them in certain areas – such as high-compression engines, efficient transmissions and lightweight chassis architectures. And not to mention that all Mazda products have one common trait – they’re all attractively designed. to sum it all up, Mazda are great at creating exciting, fun vehicles – on a very small budget.