In October 2016, Toyota and Suzuki agreed to explore a business partnership pertaining technology sharing and the standardisation of the automotive industry. That partnership became serious with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) four months later, and in March the two companies expanded on it with a mutual supply of vehicles for the Indian market.

Now, both Toyota and Suzuki announced that they have agreed to start discussions on new joint venture projects, deepening the collaboration still further. The areas to be explored include technological development, vehicle production, and market development.

Three topic of discussion have already been identified. The first is that Toyota and its subsidiary, parts maker Denso Corporation, is to provide technological support to Suzuki in the development of a compact, ultra-high-efficiency powertrain. Meanwhile, Toyota’s Indian arm, Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM), is set to produce Suzuki models for sale through the Toyota and Suzuki brand network.

Lastly, Suzuki models, including those made by TKM, are to be distributed from India to African and other markets through Toyota and Suzuki sales networks. The two companies would also forge deeper cooperation in terms of logistics and services.

Suzuki was the first [Japanese company] to enter India and, together with the people of India, has been a presence for pulling forward India’s automotive society,” said Toyota president Akio Toyoda. “As members of Indian society, Toyota, along with Suzuki, will do its best to enhance freedom and fun in a future society of mobility and to make “Make in India” vehicles cherished in Africa and in many other countries.”

Suzuki chairman Osamu Suzuki added, “We will receive support for the development of a compact, ultra-high-efficiency powertrain that is vital to Suzuki, and we will focus our utmost efforts on development. It is my hope that the new joint projects will contribute to the future success of both companies, not only in India, but also in the global market.”

As yet, it is unclear how much of this move will involve Suzuki’s longstanding partnership with Maruti, which has grown into the number one carmaker in India with a market share of just over 50%.