Toyota unlocks its engine technology, could sell to rivals
TOKYODec 17, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
Dec 17, 2016 12:00 am
Long guarded about what was beneath the hood of its pioneering Prius cars, Toyota Motor Corp plans to open up its powertrain technology to rivals, hoping this will boost sales and speed up the industry's shift to lower-emission vehicles. Announcing last week it would expand its gasoline hybrid technology development, the world's largest automaker said it would consider selling complete powertrain modules - engines, transmissions and other drive components - to its competitors. The prospect of giving rivals access to "one-size-fits-all" powertrains comes as cars are increasingly dependent on computerised components, making it easier to design similar parts across model ranges. The industry has moved on from competing largely on mechanical engineering. That trend will likely accelerate as automakers face pressure from regulators to further cut car emissions and develop more long-range electric vehicles. As cars become more like glorified computers, automakers are standardising many mechanical parts and competing more on style and packaging - giving drivers a bigger range of features from automated parking to cockpit concierges. For Toyota, this is a big departure from having a tightly-knit network of suppliers keeping much of their jointly developed technology exclusive so as to have an engineering competitive edge on rivals.
"Toyota suppliers produce a lot of technology which can only be used by Toyota," Toshiyuki Mizushima, president of Toyota's powertrain company, told reporters. "We want to change that to a system where we develop technology with our suppliers at an earlier stage ... so they can make that technology available to non-Toyota customers."
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Research Associate at Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) at Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University