Analysis: Will the Japanese auto industry sever ties with Europe?



The harshest of those headwinds are currently looking like emissions, with the threat of fines from both the European Union and, starting next year, the UK under its copy emissions regulations carbon. “With such strict CO2 targets in Europe, a clear BEV [battery-electric vehicle] strategy is needed to thrive over the next decade, ”Chan said. “It cannot be said that Mazda, Suzuki and Subaru have identified BEV strategies in Europe at this time.”

These are not problems unique to Japanese manufacturers, but the fact remains that Europe is at best a secondary market for most of them. Suzuki, for example, only generates 14% of its sales in Europe, and Subaru is primarily a North American company. Add to the production of many models in Japan, where a strong yen has kept export prices high for many years, and it looks grim.

Why would you react to European demands for things like expensive soft-touch plastics and ambient lighting for your next model when there is unlikely to be much of a sales ripple here relative to the markets? successful like China or the United States? The solution lies in partnerships, and for three of these brands, that means a merger with Toyota. Japan’s largest automaker now owns stakes in Subaru (20%), Suzuki (5%) and Mazda (5%) and has addressed the short-term emissions concerns of the three in Europe.

Suzuki, for example, which had to kill sales of its popular Jimny SUV due to its high emissions, now sells rebadged versions of the Toyota RAV4 plug-in hybrid (the Across) and the Corolla Touring Sports hybrid (the Swace). in Europe.



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