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Toyota, Panasonic join forces to boost housing business

Jiji Press

Toyota Motor Corp. Operating Officer Masayoshi Shirayanagi, left, and Panasonic Senior Managing Executive Officer Makoto Kitano shake hands at a press conference to announce the integration of the firms’ housing operations in Minato Ward, Tokyo, on Thursday. 

Jiji PressTOKYO (Jiji Press) — Toyota Motor Corp. and Panasonic Corp. said Thursday that they will integrate their housing operations under a new company to be established in January 2020.

The new company, Prime Life Technologies Corp., will also be joined by Misawa Homes Co., a Toyota subsidiary.

With the integration, the Toyota and Panasonic groups aim to weather the rough seas in Japan’s housing industry, which is expected to face tougher competition amid the falling population in Japan.

Major Japanese trading house Mitsui & Co. is considering investing in the new company, whose initial capital has yet to be decided.

Toyota and Panasonic plan to hold an equal stake in the new company, to be headed by Panasonic Senior Managing Executive Officer Makoto Kitano.

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  • The Yomiuri Shimbun

Toyota, which currently holds a 51 percent stake in Misawa Homes, plans to make it a wholly owned subsidiary through an equity swap before integrating it with the newly formed company.

The Toyota and Panasonic groups have a combined capacity to supply about 17,000 units of single-family houses a year, the largest scale in the Japanese housing industry.

The move by Toyota and Panasonic may trigger housing industry realignment, analysts said.

“We aim to create new value through cooperation with the best partner,” Panasonic’s Kitano said at a press conference in Tokyo.

Strengthening bonds

Under the new company, Toyota and Panasonic will jointly undertake town development in a wide range of fields, planning to work closely on the development of electric vehicles and next-generation autonomous mobility services as well as housing operations and construction.

The joint initiatives will represent a strengthening of cooperation between the two companies, which have already formed an alliance in the development and production of batteries for automobiles.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Toyota President Akio Toyoda suggested a policy of promoting collaboration with companies outside the auto industry in order to boost Toyota’s competitiveness in preparation for expected progress in the application of information technologies to vehicles.Speech

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