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Toyota Buys Daihatsu for Small-Car Development

1 February 2016 - Autoblog

Toyota Buys Daihatsu for Small-Car Development

Toyota is getting serious about small cars, but it's not going at it alone. Instead it's turning to its subsidiary Daihatsu, with which it will now share more resources and expertise. And in the process, it's acquiring the remaining stake in the smaller automaker.

Daihatsu is a Japanese carmaker founded in its present form in 1951, but with roots that trace back as far as 1907. Toyota acquired a controlling interest of 51 percent in Daihatsu in 1988, bringing the company under its umbrella. But now it is raising its stake to 100 percent by a reciprocal share-swap agreement that will see Daihatsu's other shareholders take 0.27 shares in the larger company for each share in the smaller.

As part of the new arrangement, the Daihatsu division will take the lead in developing new small cars, both for itself and for its parent company. Toyota in turn will also share key technologies with Daihatsu, and both will share each other's networks in emerging markets. The bottom line is that we can expect to see more small Toyotas and Scions developed and built by Daihatsu in the near future.

The Daihatsu name may not be as familiar to Americans as some of Toyota's other brands. It briefly sold models like the Charade and Rocky in the United States under its own name in the late 1980s and early 90s. However US customers may be more familiar with those it built for the Scion brand, such as the Scion xB that was based on the Daihatsu Materia. While the realistic part of our brains force us to admit it's unlikely, the dreamer within us will hold out hope that the new arrangement could see a Scion version of the nimble little Daihatsu Kopen roadster make its way to our shores in the coming years.

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