Take it with a grain of salt (for now).
We’ve become accustomed to automakers joining forces either through mergers or varying levels of partnerships recently. Expect this trend to continue. Of those many partnerships in existence, not everyone immediately remembers the one between Mazda and Toyota, two of the world’s most recognizable Japanese automakers. Almost two years ago, Toyota announced it was purchasing a stake in its smaller rival as part of an alliance that has seen the two build a $1.6 billion assembly plant in the state of Alabama. They also intend to work on electric vehicles together. That new plant will build Mazda crossovers and Toyota Corollas. But is this partnership about to expand?
According to Japanese language cars news site Best Car, via Lexus Enthusiast, the two automakers may soon bring Lexus into the mix. Lexus, of course, is Toyota’s luxury brand but if the rumor proves accurate, it’ll also have a relationship with Mazda.
Best Car’s sources claim the deal could involve a second-generation Lexus RC coupe built on a Mazda platform and powered by a Mazda engine. Here’s what the (translated) article had to say: "The collaboration between Mazda and Toyota is also planned to be expanded to Lexus vehicles. The model change (that) is scheduled for next year’s IS is being developed as a V6 engine installation model based on the newly-developed TNGA platform (from Toyota’s) Crown, and the next IS is a collaboration platform with Mazda that is equipped with a straight 6 engine.”
To clarify, ‘IS’ refers to the Lexus IS, the fourth-generation of which is set to launch next year. Like most of Toyota’s other new models, it too is expected to ride on the TNGA flexible platform.
But the really interesting bit here is the next Lexus RC, which is slated to arrive in 2022, assuming it’s not canceled altogether. It’s not like coupes, including luxury coupes with optional V8s, are flying off dealership lots these days. But we know premium brands like Lexus prefer to have a coupe in its lineup, even if built in limited numbers. Image matters. If Best Car’s claim is true, then it would mark the first-ever Mazda-Lexus collaboration, a pairing we never even imagined could happen.