Toyota considers taking Daihatsu private, but denies partnership with compact car rival Suzuki


Here’s something that would be of interest to Malaysians, as it involves not just the world’s No.1 carmaker, but the Japanese partners of national carmakers Perodua and Proton. Reuters reports that Toyota is considering buying out the rest of Daihatsu that it does not already own, while denying a report that it was in partnership talks with Suzuki.

Daihatsu is a stakeholder in Malaysian market leader Perodua, while Suzuki is the latest partner of national carmaker Proton. Both Daihatsu and Suzuki specialise in compact cars and are direct rivals in Japan.

The report notes that full control of Daihatsu could help Toyota leverage the lower-cost brand better and cut procurement costs for the former, while capital ties with Suzuki would help the the big T make inroads into India, where Suzuki commands around half the passenger car market via Maruti Suzuki.


Toyota-Daihatsu ties started in 1967 and the giant took a majority stake in Daihatsu in 1998. It currently owns 51.2% of the compact car maker, and taking Daihatsu private would cost Toyota US$3.2 billion at current market prices. Daihatsu shares jumped 20% today in reaction to Toyota’s statement.

“We are constantly considering a number of possibilities relating to Daihatsu, such as partnerships or business restructuring, including making the company a fully owned subsidiary,” Toyota said in a statement, adding that no decisions had been made.

As for the links with Suzuki, Japanese business daily Nikkei reported that Toyota and Suzuki were discussing ties from various angles, including the possibility of cross-shareholding as they look to take capitalise on demand for compact cars in India and other emerging markets.

“I can easily see the Daihatsu brand used in the same way that VW uses Skoda, or Renault uses Dacia, or Nissan uses Datsun as a low-cost, sub-premium brand to the core brand,” said CLSA senior research analyst Christopher Richter. “That could be a very effective weapon against Suzuki in places like India. If I were Suzuki that would sound like a risk to doing business with Toyota,” he added.

Others noted that a Toyota-Suzuki partnership could be win-win. Suzuki has an unrivalled distribution network in India that Toyota can benefit from, while Suzuki would be getting a stable shareholder, plus access to Toyota’s hybrid, fuel-cell and other next-gen tech geared towards future vehicle electrification, JP Morgan analysts noted.

However, Suzuki is expected to tread carefully with any potential tie-up with a giant carmaker after its previous capital alliance with Volkswagen soured, leading to a lengthy legal dispute that only ended last year with the unwinding of their cross-shareholdings. More on the Suzuki-VW failed marriage here.

An interesting development from Japan that may impact the Malaysian national car scene in the long run, if it happens. We’ll keep tabs.

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Danny Tan

Danny Tan loves driving as much as he loves a certain herbal meat soup, and sweet engine music as much as drum beats. He has been in the auto industry since 2006, previously filling the pages of two motoring magazines before joining this website. Enjoys detailing the experience more than the technical details.



  • tokmoh. on Jan 27, 2016 at 5:01 pm

    Meh, still make tin milo, no VSC, no 6 airbag, promote dangerous driving as hip and sporty.

    Sau pei la UMW.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 10
    • Syiok Sendiri John on Jan 27, 2016 at 5:16 pm

      Where is Syiok Sendiri John? He will come here and say Syukur, Malaysia sekarang ada teknologi Jepun dan Proton bagus

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3
      • Sori but ur budak mentah nak reverse psycho RBA john was abit too slow. So i help to like his comment

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 6
    • Proton don’t need Suzuki to survive or do well. But Suzuki need Proton to do well. I am proud my Proton is doing so well. Tahniah Proton. Tahniah BN dan UMNO. Sekarang sudah terbukti, Najib adalah jujur dan amanah, saya sayang kerajaan lebih!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 43 Thumb down 36
    • George Abdul on Jan 27, 2016 at 5:24 pm

      Main point is both P1 (Suzuki) and P2 (Daihatsu) of BN cronies won’t drop price in the end Rakyat buyers loss…

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 4
  • Good move on Jan 27, 2016 at 5:13 pm

    What if Proton with Toyota engine hmmm

    Lotus said: Apa salahnya?

    Perodua said: Lagi bagus!

    Rakyat said: Jangan malu-malu lah Proton!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 3
    • kazanixm on Jan 28, 2016 at 7:17 am

      Rakyat said: Malu la rebadge aje Proton! Kata ada RnD sendiri la, ape la, tapi rebadge aje. (typical malaysia minded)

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1
  • Wiwiwiwiwiw on Jan 27, 2016 at 5:27 pm

    That will not bother Proton or Perodua, they’re just licensed assemblers given a special “national car status” taxation cuts.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 3
  • So VW wanted to partner Suzuki and P1 is partnering with Suzuki now T wants to partner with Suzuki. So who says p1 was wrong to partner with suzuki?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 4
    • Self absorb on Jan 27, 2016 at 8:30 pm

      Jangan perasan lah. What is irrelevant Proton to Toyota anyway.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2
  • sohhai on Jan 27, 2016 at 7:37 pm

    Why is there a Camry facelift with an Altis name plate???

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2
  • ramli on Jan 27, 2016 at 9:28 pm

    Proton will be screwed if this deal goes thru.
    cos now they have to find another sleeping partner. Another off spring aka bastard.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3
  • Partnership with Suzuki? Better don’t. This Suzuki just entered a sewerage hole. You don’t want to get dirty.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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