Toyota Motor said it was considering a buyout offer for its Daihatsu Motor subsidiary, but denied a report that it also planned to partner with Suzuki.
In 2016, Toyota is looking to strengthen its place as world’s top-selling automaker for the fifth year in a row, by consolidating its market share in its homeland and on the emerging markets as well. Therefore, the company said it was considering buying out the rest of the minicar maker Daihatsu Motor, a deal worth around 3 billion dollars at current market prices. Such a control over its unit is vital in Toyota’s consolidation plan, as Daihatsu rivals Suzuki Motor in a very demanding Japanese minicar segment, which grew even if the country’s auto market has decreased. Daihatsu, which is 51.2 percent owned by Toyota, has been Japan’s top seller of mini vehicles for the last nine fiscal years and also has a solid position across Southeast Asian markets.
“We are constantly considering a number of possibilities relating to Daihatsu, such as partnerships or business restructuring, including making the company a fully owned subsidiary,” Toyota said in a statement, but added that no decisions had been made. The minicar subsidiary was the weakest link in world’s top-selling automaker sales figures last year, falling 13.3 percent in 2015, pushing total Toyota group deliveries 0.8 percent lower to 10,151,000 vehicles.
The Japanese Nikkei business newspaper reported this week that Toyota was also in talks with Suzuki for a possible partnership, as they plan to better compete in emerging markets including India, but both sides denied the rumors. “It is not true that we have entered negotiations over a tie-up with Toyota,” Suzuki said in a statement.