Toyota and PSA Group have announced the next chapter of their long-term partnership in the European market.
The companies have agreed that from the end of 2019, PSA will expand the range of commercial vehicles supplied to Toyota’s European business for sale under the Japanese manufacturer’s branding, by offering a C-Van built in the French carmaker’s Spanish Vigo plant.
PSA Group and Toyota started their collaboration on mid-size light commercial vehicles in 2012 wither the Toyota PROACE, which was produced by the French company at its Hordain plant in its home country.
The aim of the deepening collaboration is for both companies to use their respective strengths to offer both compact and mid-size light commercial vehicles in Europe, benefiting from development and production cost optimisation. Toyota will participate in the development and industrial investment costs for the future light-commercial vehicle.
From January 2021, Toyota will take financial ownership of the Toyota Peugeot Citroën Automobile Czech (TPCA) plant in Kolin (Czech Republic), the manufacturing joint venture that produces the compact A-segment models.
The TPCA joint venture was created by PSA and Toyota Europe in 2002 and included a review clause that allowed each partner to reconsider their shareholding. The plant will become a subsidiary of Toyota, joining the seven other plants Toyota already operates in Europe.
The Kolin plant will continue to produce the current generation compact A-segment models for the two companies.
Toyota intends to continue production and employment in the future at the Kolin plant.
Marking the agreement, Toyota Executive Vice-President Didier Leroy said: "Today's announcement reflects the complementarity and excellent relationship that exists between Groupe PSA and Toyota. Our agreement allows each company to play to its strength while sharing technology and development costs. Our commitment to the Kolin plant demonstrates Toyota's philosophy of producing cars where we sell them and our long-term manufacturing presence in Europe."
Carlos Tavares, Chairman of Groupe PSA's Managing Board, added: "We open a new chapter of our successful and mutually beneficial partnership, based on our trusting relationship for the best advantage of our clients, and our companies."
The news highlights the continuing trend in the commercial vehicle market of manufacturers working together to produce their range of vans. Ford is currently discussing a partnership with Volkswagen (VW) on commercial vehicles, which may also extend to co-developing electric cars and autonomous technology. Meanwhile, PSA has also announced it will develop its van range together with its new Opel acquisition, building models at its plant in Luton, UK. However, this means the German marque’s current deal with French rival Renault has been terminated.