Kei Cars goes EV

Suzuki and Daihatsu joining with Toyota including the existing partnership with Hino and Isuzu, to jointly develop advanced technologies and accelerate the electrification of commercial vehicles, including Kei cars.

The companies are set to cooperate on costly research and collaborate on connected, autonomous, shared, and electric vehicles referred to collectively as CASE technologies.

The project is also a part of the companies’ effort to quickly adapt to a carbon-neutral world.

Suzuki and Daihatsu will each acquire 10% of the joint venture’s shares from Toyota. After the transaction, Toyota will have a 60% stake in the venture, called Commercial Japan Partnership Technologies, while Hino, Isuzu, Suzuki, and Daihatsu will each hold stakes of 10%.

Trucks to Kei Cars

The venture was originally established to develop technologies for commercial vehicles, mainly trucks.

The alliance has now welcomed Suzuki and Daihatsu, two big makers of Kei minicars, as it aims to expand collaboration to include small, inexpensive Kei cars, which are popular in Japan. Nearly 40% of vehicles in the country are Kei minicars.

Toyota President Akio Toyoda said on Wednesday the 21st July: “Kei cars are sustainable and practical. They remain a lifeline for many people,” adding, “I believe Kei cars can advance even more by using Toyota’s CASE technologies.”

Connected Cars

Through the alliance, the five automakers will share data and technological know-how to promote a more efficient and low-cost logistics system for both trucks and Kei cars. The companies plan to develop a connected-technology infrastructure that can link truck logistics to Kei cars.

The alliance will also include initiatives such as incorporating advanced safety technologies into trucks and Kei cars, as well as cooperating on the electrification of affordable vehicles.

Daihatsu President Soichiro Okudaira explained that Kei manufacturers are up against a “once-in-a-century transformation” with the spread of CASE technologies and the fight to reduce CO2 emissions while maintaining a low price for their vehicles. “These are difficult issues to tackle alone.”

Challenge to China

China has become the largest automaker, largely relying on its mini cars. The origin and the concept would have come from Japan’s Kei cars. Adding to the woes of Japan, China has taken the leadership of EV s as well. No wonder Japan felt the heat, although such transformation from their cash cow and the tech supremacy of Hybrid will affect the cash flow.

Future is undeniable, the goliath got no escape.

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