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Automakers join forces in race for eco car supremacy

Reuters

Men are silhouetted in front of logos of Toyota Motor and Mazda Motor before the companies’ joint news conference in Tokyo on Friday.

The Yomiuri ShimbunMergers and alliances in the car industry are progressing around the world, as seen in the latest capital tie-up between Toyota Motor Corp. and Mazda Motor Corp.

This is due to automakers facing the urgent need to develop next-generation eco cars, such as emission-free electric vehicles (EVs) and fuel cell vehicles (FCVs), as Britain and France have both announced bans on the sale of gasoline and diesel cars by 2040.

China is also strengthening environmental regulations. In the fields of self-driving technologies and cars equipped with constant internet access, automakers are facing intensified competition from other industries, such as information technology. Also, more and more people are opting to car share as opposed to own their own cars.

Toyota has also formed tie-ups with Suzuki Motor Corp. and Germany’s BMW.

In technologies such as FCVs, which Toyota leads, the automaker is aiming to increase its “allies” to gain the upper hand in terms of technological standardization and creating relevant rules, among other issues.

Meanwhile, Mazda is enjoying strong sales of sport utility vehicles (SUVs) thanks to its improved diesel engines. However, when it comes to the development of next-generation cars, which requires huge investment, Mazda was in urgent need of securing an alliance partner.

Nissan Motor Co. brought Mitsubishi Motors Corp. under its wing in 2016. The Nissan group and France’s Renault SA became the top vehicle seller in the global market in January-June, beating Toyota and Germany’s Volkswagen AG, which took the top spot last year.

All eyes will be on Honda Motor Co., which has remained consistently independent, to see what moves it makes.Speech

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