Toyota is no stranger to licensing its hybrid technology, most notably to Nissan. But now, the company has announced that it will sell ready-made hybrid powertrains to other automakers.
"Toyota suppliers produce a lot of technology which can only be used by Toyota," Toshiyuki Mizushima, president of Toyota's powertrain company, told Reuters. "We want to change that to a system where we develop technology with our suppliers at an earlier stage ... so they can make that technology available to non-Toyota customers."
That would be a boon not just for Toyota, which stands to recoup research-and-development costs, but for the group suppliers the company co-develops its powertrains with. For example, at suppliers Denso and Aisin, the move could diversify its revenue, which Toyota currently accounts for half of. That means increased competition for dominant auto suppliers, like Bosch and Continental, Reuters reports.
"Until now, we couldn't sell the same inverter used in Toyota's previous hybrid system to other customers because it wouldn't fit the motor, or the voltage was different," Denso's Executive Director of Engineering Research and Development Yoshifumi Kato said. "We can avoid this issue if suppliers can sell the entire system. If we take a component developed with Toyota and sell a million to Toyota and another million to other customers, it would double our return on our development costs."
At this early stage, it's not clear when Toyota could begin releasing or selling its powertrains to other automakers. But as increasingly stringent government emissions requirements continue piling up, it's likely we'll see Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive powering other brands sooner rather than later.
Source: Auto Blog