Toyota and Volkswagen join forces on autonomous trucks

12 April 2018

Toyota and Volkswagen join forces on autonomous trucks

12 April 2018

Volkswagen and Toyota have announced they are to work together in developing electric and autonomous technology for the truck market.

The move begins an unusual partnership between the two automotive companies. Based on their common ideas, both companies will further explore each other’s capabilities to cooperate in logistics and traffic solution research, existing and new technologies as well as in procurement.

The evaluation of technology cooperation will focus on conventional powertrains, hybrid and electric powertrains, as well as connectivity and autonomous driving systems. Both partners aim to enhance their respective market positions in the global transportation business and will jointly develop innovative technologies to offer customers the highest value.

While both Toyota and Volkswagen are rivals in the passenger car market, the chief executives of the companies’ truck divisions believe that deeper collaboration between rivals was necessary for commercial vehicles since they provided the basic social infrastructure for public transportation.

Yoshio Shimo, president & CEO of Hino Motors, Ltd., said: ‘This agreement was made possible because Hino Motors and Volkswagen Truck & Bus respect each other and share the same aspiration to offer customers the highest value. Hino Motors invented the company slogan ‘Trucks and Busses that do more’. To do justice to that, Hino Motors will pursue regional business cooperation and joint utilization of technologies with Volkswagen Truck and Bus to offer customers better products and ultimately customized total support. It will also be a strong tie-up at times of new challenges in the field of transportation due to the rapid growth of e-commerce.’

Andreas Renschler, member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG and CEO of Volkswagen Truck & Bus, added: ‘We are delighted to enter into the SCFA with Hino Motors as we are teaming up with one of the leading truck and bus companies, whose presence is especially strong in Asia. It is an excellent fit in terms of regional footprints and products, but also concerning common ideas on how to shape the future of transportation together. The cooperation with Hino Motors will also contribute to our strategy to become Global Champion in the transportation industry by providing the highest value to our customers.’

A joint Alliance Board has been set up based on the signed Strategic Cooperation Framework Agreement (SCFA) to discuss the direction of the long-term and eye-level partnership. The Alliance Board ‘pursues a pragmatic approach with a lean organization and balanced rights for both companies’ that remain independent. It comprises the CEOs from both companies as well as additional senior management representatives.

Autonomous commercial vehicles are set to be a big market, with trials of truck platooning set to take place on European roads. The technology could change the haulage market, but may also threaten thousands of jobs as drivers find themselves surplus to requirements. Volkswagen recently announced an investment of €1.4 billion in new technologies in three fields, namely automated driving, connectivity, and alternative drive systems.