TOKYO (AP) — Hino Motors, Toyota Motor Corp.'s group truck manufacturer, and Volkswagen Truck & Bus of Germany agreed Thursday to work together on technologies such as hybrids, electric cars, autonomous driving and connectivity.
Under the deal, the companies will maintain independence but executive teams will work together to map out cooperation on development of innovative technology.
The arrival of the digital age and robotics in the auto industry is pressuring automakers around the world to deliver vehicles that connect to the internet or avoid accidents automatically.
Partnerships can save costs and boost competitiveness. Automakers are also trying to respond to a push to reduce global warming and pollution by developing cleaner powertrains.
The deal brings together two major players in trucks and buses, a sector that some analysts say can benefit the most from such new technology.
Hino Motors President and Chief Executive Yoshio Shimo said the deal came together because the companies respected each other and shared goals.
"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," he said.
People in Japan and other rapidly aging countries are looking for new kinds of transportation solutions, Shimo said.
Andreas Renschler, board member at Volkswagen AG and CEO of Volkswagen Truck & Bus, said the deal was strategic for his company because Hino was 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," Renschler said.