Features
28 Jul 21

Catching up with reality: Japanese OEMs join forces in CASE

Logistics are the backbone and cash cow of Japanese OEMs but are not excluded from current trends of connectivity and sustainability. As domestic manufacturers are historically slow and conservative in the process of change, an alliance has been created – the “Commercial Japanese Partnership Technologies” – to accelerate the implementation of new technologies.

Discover how the major carmakers are preparing for the next fleet and mobility frontier in the on-demand video section of the 2021 Global Fleet Conference.

This alliance was initially oriented exclusively towards the truck manufacturing but is now taking a bit of a turn.

Daihatsu and Suzuki

Kei-cars are small and relatively cheap vehicles that receive a favorable tax and insurance treatment. They are very popular and occupy roughly 40% of the Japanese new car sales market. Kei-cars are used privately, but also by businesses.

Daihatsu and Suzuki are the main kei-car manufacturers and have now joined the alliance, bringing the number of members to 5, taking into account the founding members Toyota, Hino and Isuzu. Individually, nor Suzuki or Daihatsu have the bandwidth to develop new technologies or adapt to Japan’s upcoming carbon neutral world.

Form factor

The newcomers in the alliance bring in another important element to the logistics ecosystem: the availability of (larger) trucks alongside (small) transport vehicles in one connected system. This will optimize cost & time efficiency as well as deliver better emission performance as goods are transported from manufacturer to consumer in Japan’s e-commerce heavy economy.

Electric

There’s a missing piece in the puzzle, however. Toyota promotes hybrid and hydrogen, rather than pure electric, as a result of which the penetration of hybrid in new vehicle sales is impressive. It is unsure however if its stance on electric will become an obstacle for the alliance to succeed. Especially for the larger trucks, no one should be surprised to see Toyota push its hydrogen agenda to reinforce its strategy.

For the Fleet Manager

Commercial fleets are a different matter – and most often a category managed by different people. Nonetheless, the alliance has the potential to early adopt new technologies and accelerate the deployment of, for instance, connectivity.

Importantly, CASE will make its entrance on a large commercial fleet scale rather than being slowly introduced in corporate car fleets, and Japanese stakeholders will feel more comfortable with technologies that are widely tested.  

Picture Credit: Shutterstock

Authored by: Yves Helven