Japanese automakers Toyota and Suzuki, which began discussing a partnership in October, said Monday they would work together in ecological and safety technology — a rapidly growing area in the industry.
Toyota Motor Corp., the maker of the Camry sedan, Prius hybrid and Lexus luxury models, and Suzuki Motor Corp., which specializes in tiny cars, announced the decision, following approval by the company boards, and signed a memorandum of agreement, both sides said.
Another area for possible collaboration is information technology as well as supplying each other with products and components. The next step would be to come up with specific cooperation projects, they said.
Suzuki does not have a hybrid, electric car or fuel cell vehicle in its lineup. Self-driving cars are also a growing focus in the industry.
Toyota President Akio Toyoda praised Suzuki's pioneer spirit.
"I am truly thankful for having been given this opportunity to work together with a company such as Suzuki, which overflows with the spirit of challenge. Toyota looks forward to learning much," he said in a statement.
Developing futuristic technology is costly, and the automakers can hope to reduce costs by working together. Toyota and Suzuki have encouraged others to join the partnership.
"We now stand at the starting point for building a concrete cooperative relationship. I want to give this effort our fullest and to aim at producing results that will lead Toyota to conclude that it was the right thing for Toyota to have decided to work together with Suzuki," said Suzuki Chairman Osamu Suzuki.
Suzuki said the company had courted Toyota on such a partnership for years.
Toyota leads the world in selling gas-electric hybrids, headed by the Prius, and it is also working on fuel cells and electric vehicles.
Emissions regulations are tightening around the world, amid growing concerns about the environment and global warming.