NAGOYA, Japan – Toyota Motor Corp., its small car subsidiary Daihatsu Motor Co. and Suzuki Motor Corp. will jointly develop a small electric vehicle (EV) for the Japanese market, sources close to the matter said Saturday.
The three automakers aim to split the cost of developing the new model as it is uncertain whether owners of small cars in Japan will opt to switch to higher-priced EVs, they said.
Daihatsu and Suzuki compete in the domestic market of minivehicles carrying engines of up to 660 cc, which see steady demand partly due to lower registration fees and taxes.
Japan, where hybrid cars are popular, lags behind many other major auto markets in building EV charging stations, and few Japanese manufacturers are willing to go it alone in developing EVs, industry sources say.
Toyota and Suzuki hold shares in each other.
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