Starting in 2015, Mazda will begin building an all-new Toyota vehicle based on the Mazda2 that will go on sale in North America.
According to the release, Toyota “aims to strengthen its North American vehicle lineup,” while Mazda “aims to increase production efficiency and contribute to its profitability.” The plant in question is Mazda’s new Salamanca City plant, located in the central Mexican state of Guanajuato. Once it’s up and running in 2014, the facility will build the Mazda2, Mazd3, and this new Toyota vehicle; the plant can churn out around 140,000 units per year with approximately 3000 employees. Toyota’s investment will help Mazda to fund the capacity increases needed for the additional vehicles being built.
What the new 2016 Toyota model could be is anyone’s guess. The Japanese giant already sells a car that competes with the Mazda2 – the Yaris – which will be nearing the end of its current life cycle when the new car makes its appearance. The Yaris was all-new for 2012, while the Mazda2 made its debut back in 2009. The automakers have also announced that the new Toyota subcompact will be produced at about 50,000 units per year.
While it comes as little surprise that Toyota is looking for more opportunities to build cars for the North American market where they’re sold – almost the entire Toyota lineup is built in the U.S., Canada, or Mexico – the use of Mazda’s platform is surprising. However, given the initial success of the Scion FR-S/Toyota GT-86/Subaru BRZ team-up, it makes some sense that Toyota may be looking to leverage development costs of a new, inexpensive model. The Mazda2 has also long been one of the best-driving subcompact cars, while Toyota’s Yaris is far from it; Toyota may be looking to tap some of Mazda’s expertise.
Source: Mazda, Toyota