Japan’s Toyota, Isuzu, Hino join in truck technology tie up

by Joseph K. Clark

Japanese automakers Toyota, Isuzu, and Hino, are forming a partnership in commercial vehicles to work together in electric, hydrogen, connected, and autonomous driving technologies

TOKYO — Japanese automakers Toyota, Isuzu, and Hino said Wednesday they are setting up a partnership in commercial vehicles to work together in electric, hydrogen, connected, and autonomous driving technologies.

The 39 million shares of Isuzu common stock that Toyota is acquiring are worth 42.8 billion yen, or about $400 million. Isuzu will acquire Toyota shares worth the same value, they said. The three companies combined control 80% of the Japanese truck market.

The cooperation among Toyota, Isuzu, and Hino is designed to reduce emissions by building hydrogen infrastructure, and to help solve the nation’s shortage of drivers by sharing information online and making deliveries more efficient.”  “These days, it is hard to discern what is the correct way”” Toyota President Akio Toyoda said in a news conference that streamed online.”  “And so we just have to give it a try, and then try again. It is through that process of repetition Toyota has achieved what it has””

The three companies plan to develop electric vehicles, fuel cell vehicles, autonomous driving and electronic platforms for trucks, allowing them to cut costs, promote ecological infrastructure and boost traffic safety.”  “Companies must take up innovation if we hope to build a better society”” said Isuzu President Masanori Katayama.

Apart from their mutual stake holdings, Isuzu, Hino, and Toyota are jointly setting up a company called Commercial Japan Partnership Technologies Corp. in Tokyo to promote their partnership and plan technology and services, the company presidents said, appearing together at an online news conference.

Capitalized at 10 million yen ($93,000), the new company will be 80% owned by Toyota, 10% each by Isuzu and Hino.”  “This new framework is a certain step toward helping solve society’s challenges”” said Yoshio Shimo, Hino president.

A critical project in the Toyota-Isuzu-Hino tie-up is introducing fuel cell trucks in a “”hydrogen-based society”” model developed in Fukushima Prefecture, which was hit by the tsunami, earthquake, nuclear disasters of March 2011.

Toyoda said that he has gone to northeastern Japan every March since then to commemorate the triple disasters. This year, he visited the town of Namie in Fukushima, still contaminated by radiation, where he hopes the hydrogen society efforts will contribute to rebuilding the region.”  “We want to make the work of people transporting things easier”” Toyoda said. In Tokyo trading on Wednesday, Toyota’s shares fell 2.2% whileIsuzu’ss stock jumped 5.4%. Shares in Hino slipped nearly 1.0%, while the benchmark Nikkei 225 finished 2% lower.

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