Toyota ends its self-reliance strategy with Bmw and Tesla alliances

Article by Christian Andrei, on December 20, 2011

Toyota Motor Corp. goes against tradition and has entered a deal this month to use BMW AG diesel engines on certain of its cars. This change became only possible under the leadership of President Akio Toyoda. Earlier, the automaker had agreed for its future electric vehicles to use battery packs from Tesla Motors Inc. Spokeswoman Shiori Hashimoto said that before Toyoda (the founder’s grandson) became president, it had not bought core technologies from other automakers.

It’s likely that Toyoda is making these alliances with other automakers because he wanted to turn around its situation as it is now expected to give up its three-year lead in the worldwide automotive industry to General Motors Co. Toyoda had to contend with plenty of issues recently. The automaker had just emerged from three years of crisis management.

It recalled millions of vehicles a couple of years ago and it still has to recover from the effects of Japan’s earthquake. What Toyoda has to do now is to recover the share of the market it had lost to GM and Hyundai Motor Co.

Jeff Liker, an engineering professor at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor that specializes in Toyota research, said that there’s a “high need for control” since they want to opt for a high level of confidence that items will be delivered promptly. But then Liker also noted that Toyoda is taking a risk. Liker believes that the massive recalls in 2009 and 2010 gave the company a chance to promote the changes in Toyota's corporate culture.

He said that the CEO is likely to want to “open up more, get more access to the outside world.” It should be noted that Toyota predicts profit to drop to 1% of revenue this fiscal year, Toyota's second-lowest margin, according to Bloomberg’s complied data that stretch back to 1992.

Los Angeles played host to the exciting and much anticipated reveal of the all-new Toyota RAV4 EV. The 26th annual Electric Vehicle Symposium saw many new vehicles revealed for the first time but it was the RAV4 which caught many people's eye. Due in part to some of the changes Toyota did for this SUV, the all- model now has a driving range close to 100 miles and can be fully charged in just 6 hours using a 240V/40A charger. The carrying capacity of the RAV4 improves upon the gas powered version, the V6, as does its performance.

Available for $49,800, this EV is just as comfortable and versatile as any other RAV4.

Bob Carter, Group Vice President and General Manager of Toyota, said that its aim is to create an electric version of the RAV4, which so many of its customers love. What its design team and amazing engineers have created is one which is every bit as efficient and versatile as the original and is the first all-electric SUV on the market. He added that this is something which we feel its customers will respond positively to.

A joint venture between Tesla Motors and Toyota, this get- together was made possible due to the President and CEO of the Toyota Motor Corporation Akio Toyoda. Through this, the designers and engineers of both companies were able to bring the RAV4 EV to market in under two years!

The Tesla-designed battery and electric powertrain is proving to be a fascinating and exciting combination both for Toyota and those SUV enthusiasts. By redefining what is believed possible with an EV and an SUV, this clever collaboration has created a vehicle of great range, award-winning comfort and design and there are more charging points than ever. It is interesting to see what they can revolutionise next.

Topics: toyota, bmw, tesla

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