Toyota has been on a partnership spree in recent times. The Japanese automaker has had a history of illustrious joint ventures with automotive firms like Subaru and BMW, resulting in some great cars. The company announced its latest partnership with Mazda recently, and their joint efforts will bear fruit in the form of an SUV.
Toyota resurrected the haloed ‘86’ nameplate with the 2012 GT86 developed with Subaru, which sold a rebadged 86 as the BRZ. Having hit it off with the cars, Toyota then proceeded to join forces with BMW and resurrected the legendary Supra, with BMW gaining a new Z4 in the process.
Toyota could be working on the production version of the FT-4X it had showcased at the 2017 New York Auto Show.
Now that the performance car lineup is complete, Toyota is ready to move into one of the most profitable segments in the automotive industry right now: SUVs. And this time, it has announced a partnership with Mazda. From the looks of it, we are probably looking at an all-new FJ Cruiser, while Mazda might bring back the CX-7 nameplate.
The two Japanese firms have signed off on a new joint operations facility in Huntsville, Alabama, that is said to cost around $1.6 billion. The factory will be ready for production by 2021 and will be able to churn out 300,000 vehicles annually. Splitting the number evenly between partners, that is still 150,000 cars per maker. What is even more impressive is that both the firms will build their models independently, dropping the rebadging approach.
If rumours are to be believed, the upcoming Toyota SUV will be a production version of the FT-4X concept that was showcased at NAIAS New York 2017. At the time, the FT-4X’s chief designer had claimed that it was 75 percent production-ready. Like recent models from Toyota, this new SUV is expected to employ TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture) underpinnings. It will also come equipped with all-wheel-drive.
While nothing is set in stone yet, Mazda could bring back the discontinued CX-7 in a fresh avatar to round off its SUV lineup.
Mazda, on the other hand, is quite secretive about its role in the partnership. While some people claim the firm is bringing back the CX-7 moniker to sit between the CX-5 and CX-9, yet others claim that a completely new model line is brewing at Mazda. Whatever the case, both the companies involved in the joint venture have a knack of producing some truly capable cars, so it will be interesting to watch what rolls off the assembly lines at Huntsville.