Daihatsu President Soichiro Okudaira Remarks
Hello everyone. I would like to talk about the background and details of this partnership.
As President Toyoda mentioned, there are 31 million minivehicles under ownership in Japan, which is about 40 percent of all owned vehicles in the market, with 8 million of them being mini-commercial vehicles.
The number of in-use minivehicles is steadily increasing, and there is a strong demand for mini-commercial vehicles not only among fleet customers but also among individual customers.
With such a large number of customers using minivehicles, we minivehicle manufacturers believe that it is our responsibility to make people's lives safer, more secure, and more prosperous by promoting carbon neutrality and by achieving the dissemination of CASE technologies and services for minivehicles.
Meanwhile, we have been offering customers affordable fuel-efficient technologies and advanced safety technologies by thoroughly pursuing low-cost manufacturing by way of simple factories, simple design elements, and slim fixed costs.
Also, our internal research shows that the current CO2 emissions of minivehicles from a life cycle assessment perspective are about 30 percent lower than non-minivehicle compact cars and comparable to those of small hybrid electric vehicles.
Our understanding is that it is no easy task to disseminate CASE technologies and services and to reduce CO2 emissions beyond the current level while keeping prices affordable. We have truly entered a once-in-a-century era of profound transformation.
It is extremely difficult to independently address these issues, and that necessitates a collaborative effort that goes beyond conventional frameworks.
Therefore, President Suzuki and I had been discussing for some time whether there were areas in which we could work together for the sake of our customers. We were then approached by President Toyoda, leading to what we are announcing today.
I am convinced that adding Toyota's CASE technologies to Isuzu and Hino, which are commercial vehicle professionals, and that participation in this project by Suzuki and Daihatsu, which have dedicated themselves to minivehicles, will create significant synergies. These include an integrated commercial vehicle infrastructure that covers, figuratively speaking, "from the main arteries to the capillaries", as well as the realization of electrification suitable for minivehicles through the fusion of advanced technologies and low-cost manufacturing.
I would like to explain the specific details of our participation in this partnership, including what we will consider going forward.
The first point is related to connected technologies.
Japan has about 60,000 logistics companies, roughly 70 percent of which are small-scale companies with fewer than 20 employees or one-person operations, and there is still a long way to go for automakers to meet the needs of individual customers. Through this partnership, we would like to seek frontline customer feedback that has thus far escaped us. And we would like to build an infrastructure that connects various elements, including data, of trucks to mini-commercial vehicles, which are responsible for the last mile, to improve the efficiency of logistics as a whole.
The second point has to do with advanced safety technology, such as advanced driver-assistance systems that protect our customers.
We will bring together the technologies and know-how of each company and study the development of advanced safety technologies that are more affordable with a view toward future development.
The third point concerns the electrification of minivehicles, including mini-commercial vehicles.
Toward achieving carbon neutrality, we will take on the challenge of developing affordable electrified minivehicles through technological cooperation on electric components and by consolidating development resources.
By collaborating on the three points, we will aim to include minivehicles in the societal implementation of CASE technologies and services. We, too, will put into practice President Toyoda's "Give it a try" thinking.
As of today, Suzuki and Daihatsu are now members of the Commercial Japan Partnership, a commercial vehicle project by Isuzu, Hino, and Toyota, and we will begin our efforts with commercial vehicles as the starting point. To promote collaboration, Suzuki and Daihatsu will each acquire 10 percent of Commercial Japan Partnership Technologies, which is the joint venture for the project, through a share transfer.
As a manufacturer of minivehicles, Daihatsu will continue to provide products and services while insisting on products that are compact, light, and low-cost so that minivehicles, which serve as a lifeline, will remain affordable and accessible to our customers.
Through this partnership, we will accelerate such efforts.
Thank you very much.