Let's hope Mazda gets the design pen on this one.
It's a beautiful thing when two opposing sides can set aside their differences and work together towards a common goal, especially in the face of adversity. We recently saw Ford and GM do this when both automakers collaborated to build a ten-speed transmission that supposedly shifts more quickly than a Porsche PDK. Not only will the benefits of this be seen on performance cars but it will help mitigate harsh EPA regulations. According to Automotive News, Toyota and Mazda are about to pull off the same move.
The announcement also coincides with a growing wave of partnerships among the Japanese auto industry. Recently Toyota took over Daihatsu while Nissan acquired an ailing Mitsubishi after its stock price took a nosedive following a fuel economy scandal of its own. This trend is unlikely to go anywhere as the auto industry begins to face the monumental task of revolutionizing its methods to accommodate new technologies such as electrification, autonomy, and in Toyota's case, hydrogen fuel cells. Once the details of the new partnership unravel we hope that one of the ten potential areas of cooperation include a Satan spawn of the Toyota 86 and the MX-5 Miata.
The news comes straight from the mouth of Akira Marumoto, Mazda's executive vice president, who said that the two automakers have identified over ten potential areas of cooperation. Marumoto kept his lips sealed on the matter, aside from claiming the two are talking. But both Toyota and Mazda spoke last year about forming new ties beyond sharing hybrid drivetrains and compact car production in Mexico. Toyota has extensive experience with hybrid drivetrains, so as Mazda begins to grow into a more upscale automaker with fuel efficient options, it would benefit to gain some insight into how to develop sold hybrid drivetrains. As hybridization and electrification become more important, Mazda will need an edge in order to stay ahead.