Toyota President Akio Toyoda (L) shakes hands with Suzuki Motor CEO Osamu Suzuki at their joint news conference in Tokyo. Picture: Toru Hanai / Reuters.

Tokyo - Toyota and Japanese rival Suzuki are tying up in a partnership. Both sides announced in a joint statement Wednesday that they will study areas where they can work together in developing technology for the environment, safety and information networking.

The companies said such areas are likely to benefit from a partnership since the industry is changing rapidly in those areas.

However, the two will continue to compete in other ways. They expressed hopes that other carmakers will join the partnership to help work towards an industry standard in such areas.

Toyota President Akio Toyoda said survival depends on such collaborations, and it was not enough for a company to be doing just its own research.

“It is very important now to have partners who share the same goal and passion,” he said.

Suzuki specializes in minicars, which benefit from tax breaks in Japan and are reputed to boast good economy, but it does not have a hybrid, electric car or fuel cell vehicle in its line-up.

Suzuki Chairman Osamu Suzuki stressed that he has been eager for such a partnership and had discussed it first with Toyoda's father, and Toyota's honorary chairman, Shoichiro Toyoda.

“Toyota is the industry-leading, and the most reliable company which is actively working on various advanced and future technologies,” Suzuki said.

Toyota leads the world in selling petrol-electric hybrids, headed by the Prius, and it is also working on fuel cells and electric vehicles. Emissions regulations are tightening around the world, amid growing concerns about the environment and global warming.

Self-driving cars also all the rage in the industry, although the use of artificial intelligence in cars on the roads has had mixed results. Toyota tends to be more cautious than its rivals in commercialising the technology, but all the world's carmakers are competing intensely in that research.


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