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Toyota, Mazda homing in on broad tie-up

Toyota and Mazda are looking to build on the successes of their previous agreements.

TOKYO -- Toyota Motor and Mazda Motor are in the final stages of talks on a comprehensive partnership in eco-friendly technology, seeking an edge amid tightening environmental regulations and tough emerging-market competition.

     Toyota intends to supply fuel cell and plug-in-hybrid technology. In 2018, environmentally conscious California plans to push automakers to boost sales volume for electric and fuel cell vehicles. China and other emerging economies are set to strengthen environmental regulations, too. Mazda, which has lagged in electric-vehicle technology, hopes to keep up with these changes by bolstering its relationship with Toyota.

     Meanwhile, Mazda will consider offering its proprietary Skyactiv green technology. Toyota hopes to use it to add more fuel-efficient gasoline and diesel vehicles alongside its own advanced lineup of hybrids and fuel cell cars.

     The Japanese automakers will also consider cooperating in other areas, including procurement of commercial vehicles from the Toyota group and joint purchasing of parts.

     The companies intend to reach a consensus on a broad framework soon. They hope to strengthen their relationship after having achieved positive results from previous agreements. Toyota provided hybrid-vehicle technology to Mazda in 2010, while Mazda agreed in 2012 to supply subcompact cars from a Mexican plant to Toyota.

     Mazda tied up with Ford Motor in 1979, with the U.S. automaker holding a 33.4% stake at one point. Ford's deteriorating finances forced it to slash this to 2.1%, and the business alliance weakened as well.

     Teaming up with Toyota will help Mazda weather fierce global competition, the smaller automaker hopes, by providing access to costly next-generation green technology so that Mazda can focus resources on small and midsize vehicles and sports cars.


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