Toyota’s Partnerships: Good for Toyota, Good for the Industry

2018 Toyota Supra

Toyota is one of the world’s largest automakers, but at least one of its coolest cars is the result of a partnership with another automaker.

Automotive partnerships don’t always work. One failure that comes to mind immediately is the Chrysler TC by Maserati.

I guess “failure” might be a little harsh, because the car does have its own club and plenty of fans. Those people see the car as misunderstood and elegant, while the rest of the world sees a Chrysler K-car with a spit-shine.

The TC lasted only three model years and cost close to $40,000 when new. That high price bought a Maserati body with a Chrysler engine, pretty much the worst from each partner at the time.

Toyota seems to have the partnership thing figured out, though, with at least three marriages to other major automakers. Will they fare better than the Chrysler-Maserati tie-up?

The first modern partnership is Toyota’s involvement with Subaru for the design and production of the Subaru BRZ/Scion FR-S. Those have been a smashing success, as the rear-wheel-drive sports car filled a much-needed niche and single-handedly brought back the inexpensive-but-exhilarating sports car. The cars are still in production, and we can expect even more powerful versions to arrive soon.

Perhaps most exciting to serious sports car fans was the announcement that Toyota would partner with BMW to create what could become an all-new Supra. BMW would likely benefit from the partnership with a replacement of its Z4. Details on styling and prices are still unknown, but we do know the partnership is well under way, and we expect something amazing to come out of it.

Not quite as exciting but infinitely better for the car industry is Toyota’s recent announcement that it has formed a partnership with Mazda. Automotive News said,

The announcement comes amid media reports that said the two companies are exploring numerous projects. Among them would be an arrangement in which Toyota supplies Mazda with its hydrogen fuel cell system and plug-in hybrid technology, in exchange for receiving Mazda’s fuel-efficient Skyactiv gasoline and diesel engine technology.

Mazda builds cars that are fun to drive, like Toyota once did. By partnering with a variety of other automakers, Toyota can leverage the power of the industry to get its mojo back. Let’s just hope it avoids something potentially catastrophic, such as a Yaris by Maserati.

Which Toyota partnership is most interesting to you?


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