Toyota, Isuzu revive capital tie-up with focus on connected trucks

Toyota Motor Corp and Isuzu Motors Ltd announced a capital alliance on Wednesday, reviving a partnership to bolster their competitive edge in connected, commercial vehicles.

Toyota truck unit Hino Motors Ltd will join in the pact to jointly develop commercial trucks of the future, including connected vehicles and fuel cell technologies, the automakers said.

Toyota and Isuzu in 2018 dissolved a previous, 12-year capital tie-up, which had focused on diesel engines.

The move on Wednesday comes as traditional automakers face growing competition from tech giants and other rivals developing electric and driverless cars.

Toyota Motor President Akio Toyoda said the push for electric vehicles gave the companies a reason to get together again.

“We had tried to jointly develop small diesel engines together… but we didn’t really identify specific projects much, and we decided to split and find our own ways,” he told a news conference. “But then EV became a new common ground for us again, where common research and development could take place.”

Toyota will acquire 39 million treasury shares in Isuzu, worth 42.8 billion yen, taking a 4.6% stake, they said.

The three companies will set up a new joint venture, with Toyota owning 80% and the others owning 10% each, they said in a statement.

Toyota shares fell 2.2%, mostly in line with the broader Tokyo stock market, but shares of Isuzu Motors Ltd ended up 5.4%. Hino Motors Ltd finished Wednesday trade down 1%.