TL;DR Mazda needs a sugar daddy and Toyota needs sex
In the last month both Nissans Charlos Ghosen and FCAs Sergio Marchionne have come out as champions of consolidation within the industry. “Consolidation is going to continue, you are going to see more and more cooperation by carmakers,” said Ghosen just hours before Toyota and Mazda announced they were getting busy.
A "mutually beneficial long-term partnership" as the CEOs put it. Toyota will share hydrogen and hybrid technology with Mazda and in return Mazda will share its new compact car factory in Mexico and their fuel efficient SkyActiv diesel and petrol technology.
But it's not so much the future of the engagement that fascinates, but what led to them finding each other.
In 2010 Ford left Mazda destitute in the wake of the global financial crisis. Having been part of the Motor Company since 1979 Mazda was left in limbo having been dependant on Dearborn for R&D and foreign production networks. Last year 70% of Mazda's annual production originated in Japan, nearly all of those with an internal combustion engine.
Mazda may have a logistical problem, but the brand and its enthusiasts know the quantity exactly. Quite different from Toyota.
Toyota has a desire to get back to building cars that people love. Something they arguably haven't done since the Supra was retired in the early 2000's. Yes we can talk about potential capital tie ups and maximizing existing scale for both parties but that would miss the true crux of this relationship. Mazda needs a sugar daddy and Toyota needs sex. A thoroughly modern relationship.