Japanese giant lays out plans to buy the remaining stock of Daihatsu in an effort to harness the latter's small car expertise
Matt Burt
29 January 2016

Toyota is to take full control of Daihatsu in a move that’s aimed at enhancing the small car expertise of both companies. Under the deal, Toyota boss Akio Toyoda has said the Daihatsu brand will be given an “equal position with the Toyota and Lexus brands”.

Daihatsu, Japan’s longest-surviving car maker, has been a subsidiary of Toyota since 1998 and the pair have worked together since the late 1960s. Now the world’s largest car company has agreed to buy the remainder of Daihatsu shares in a deal said to be worth about $3 billion (about £2bn). Toyota then plans to delist Daihatsu from the stock exchange on 27 July.

In a statement, Toyota said the purpose of the agreement is “to develop ever-better cars by adopting a unified strategy for the small car segment, under which both companies will be free to focus on their core competencies”.

“We at Toyota are fixated on our need to cover our own bases,” said Toyoda. “I have frequently worried that we haven’t been able to make our presence felt in the small car market.

“Toyota and Daihatsu first collaborated in 1967 and that relationship is why we are able to entrust this part of our car business to Daihatsu.

“Daihatsu has a spontaneous, down-to-earth nature and I think we have a lot to learn from them.

“Small cars will continue to be the focus of Daihatsu’s efforts. The company excels in the kind of engineering needed to make affordable and high-quality products."

The two companies will share bases of operations and co-operate on the development of new technology for small cars. Daihatsu will be able to tap into Toyota’s expertise at electric powertrains, autonomous driving technology and global might.

The differentiation between Toyota's and Daihatsu's brands will continue, and the product line-ups of both will be optimised in accordance with customer preferences, with Daihatsu taking the lead in developing products offered within the small car line-ups of both brands.

At the same time, Daihatsu will continue to focus on developing vehicles aimed specifically at customers in the areas in which the brand already has a strong presence.

While Daihatsu’s management will retain a degree of autonomy – Toyota describes the situation as “friendly competition” – the takeover will “bring the two together under a shared strategy that will enable them to jointly overcome otherwise prohibitive obstacles in the future”.

Toyota president Akio Toyoda said: "This is an opportunity for us both to stop feeling that we need to go it alone, and trust each other to take full advantage of our respective strengths. In other words, we can now focus on our core competencies. That, I believe, is the key to achieving and sustaining global competitiveness."

Although the deal focuses primarily on small cars, Toyota is keen to tap into Daihatsu’s expertise in the areas of packaging, efficiency and miniaturisation. Toyota hopes this can be used to enhance the cost competitiveness of larger cars.

Daihatsu stopped selling cars in the UK in 2011.

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Comments
4

29 January 2016
I always thought it was a shame that Daihatsu exited the UK. The Charade was fondly received if I remember correctly, and the Copen has, I think, become a modern classic. It would be good if we saw Daihatsu back in the UK as a Dacia competitor.


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29 January 2016
Mini2 wrote:

I always thought it was a shame that Daihatsu exited the UK. The Charade was fondly received if I remember correctly, and the Copen has, I think, become a modern classic. It would be good if we saw Daihatsu back in the UK as a Dacia competitor.

Daihatsu specialise in small cars. Dacia are the opposite, offering cars that are basic but big for the money. I don't think Daihatsu's range would appeal to Dacia buyers.

As a Smart/Fiat 500 rival it might work though, cheap stylish small cars like the new Copen, Move Custom and Cast Activia. Given they share the width of the original ForTwo, if Toyota get a move on they might be able to snag some disgruntled Smart customers.

Plenty of their models wouldn't work over here style-wise. The Conte and the Wake are just too Japanese, and the Cocoa would require some clever marketing (probably involving cute pigs).

As for the Tanto? Well, it's odd enough that it might just take off. I'd certainly give it a look myself

29 January 2016
Clearly you don't know the brand. Before the age of Dacia in the UK under Renault management, Daihatsu were selling the cheapest brand new Asian car second to the Suzuki Alto known as the Daihatsu Domino. The Charade GT was a firecracker and also non-turbo cars featured 3 cylinder engines, well before their time.

Perodua eventually came to take that prize of having the cheapest brand new car on the market when Daihatsu were slowly moving out of the UK with the same Domino and cosmetic differences. Infact all of Perodua's supermini ranges were all previously sold Daihatsu models.

I agree with Mini2; Daihatsu as a Japanese company were fondly remembered; not just for the Charade but also their Toyota based bargain priced 4x4 FourTrak (think 3 door Mitsubishi Shogun size) and the Suzuki Jimny rivalling SportTrak models.

Daihatsu weren't the best driver cars but they offered good quality, value for money and reliability. Their Charade was also based on the expensive Toyota Starlet; a rather humdrum supermini too over priced in the UK before the Yaris replaced it. No wonder Toyota have finally bought the company. Its just taken a rather long time.

wmb

30 January 2016
It sounds like Daihatsu would cover the market of Toyota's Scion brand here in the US. While Scion started off strong out of the gate when it was originally introduced here in the States as a youth oriented brand, and they still have faithful fans, it has dropped off considerably. Some has suggested that this is due to not having compelling products that grab the attention of their target audience. Perhaps Toyota could replace Scion with Daihatsu or use their products to support the Scion brand here in the US? Wishful thinking!

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