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With Mazda tie-up, Toyota accelerates partnership strategy

Leading Japanese automaker casts wide net to take on high-tech competition

Toyota Motor President Akio Toyoda, left, and Mazda Motor's Masamichi Kogai at a 2015 press conference.

TOKYO/NAGOYA, Japan -- Toyota Motor is stepping on the partnership gas, planning a mutual investment with Mazda Motor on top of last year's full takeover of Daihatsu Motor, as a rewriting of auto industry norms forces it to seek collaboration to improve quality as well as scale.

"In this great transition phase, we must play offense as well as defense," President Akio Toyoda told shareholders at a June meeting in Aichi Prefecture. "All options are on the table, including mergers and acquisitions," he said. That declaration came as a "shock," according to one group member head, as the president "rarely talks about capital policy."

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