Toyota takes stake in Mazda, links up for $1.6 billion U.S. plant
Date: Aug 4, 2017
Source: Reuters By Naomi Tajitsu and Sam Nussey
TOKYO (Reuters) – Toyota Motor Corp said on Friday it planned to take a 5 percent share of smaller Japanese rival Mazda Motor Corp, as part of an alliance that will see the two build a $1.6 billion U.S. assembly plant and work together on electric vehicles.
The plant was a surprise for investors at a time of cooling U.S. sales, but marked good news for U.S. President Donald Trump who came to office on the back of promises to bring back manufacturing and jobs for U.S. workers. He commented on Twitter that it was a “great investment in American manufacturing”.
Toyota Motor President Akio Toyoda and Mazda Motor President Masamichi Kogai bow at a joint news conference in Tokyo, Japan August 4, 2017. Photo by Kim Kyung-Hoon
The plant, whose location is not yet public, will be able to produce 300,000 vehicles a year, with production divided between the two automakers, and employ about 4,000 people. It will start operating in 2021.
Analysts said the plan was more than a political ploy. The alliance is also an attempt to catch up with rivals in the race for electric car technology, as tighter global emissions rules loom, along with the entry of new players into the market.
“There will be new rivals appearing – Apple, Google – these are IT companies, we also need to compete with them, too,” Toyota President Akio Toyoda, grandson of the company’s founder, told a news conference in Tokyo.