26 oct 18

Toyota and Mazda join financial services

When Mazda and Toyota announced, back in August 2017 a partnership that gives Toyota access to 5% of the Hiroshima based car manufacturer, many automotive professionals couldn’t see the rationale of it.

Ratio versus Passion

For sure, everyone could see the benefits for Mazda: a wealthy and truly global partner, much more ahead in hybrid and electric technology. Seeing the Toyota benefits however, was a bit more of a challenge. Nevertheless, even though for Europeans or Americans, both are typical standard Japanese OEMs, the Japanese see it differently.

Where Toyota stands for extreme commoditising, Mazda is a manufacturer that fuels on passion for the automobile. To translate it in European terms, Toyota is Japan’s Volkswagen, Mazda its Alfa Romeo. In 2017, everyone eventually agreed that this is where the benefit for Toyota starts and ends: learn to build cars with a soul.

Influencing each other

We’re seeing a different Toyota today; the company is evolving from ultra-conservative to modern and from isolated to integrated. A good example is the partnership between Toyota and the Singaporean ride hailing company Grab. Toyota is thinking ahead.

Similarly, Mazda, the ultimate combustion engine builder, has announced electrified vehicles – the only way out for markets such as California and China. In parallel, Mazda still practices what it preaches and develops in parallel the Skyactive technology, a ultra-efficient diesel and petrol engine.

Both OEMs have also decided to build cars together in a new plant in Alabama, US.


This week, both OEMs announced their intention to integrate their financial services businesses. Toyota would buy 49% of Mazda’s SMM Auto Finance, the OEM’s captive auto finance division. The 49% would come from current shareholders Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. and Cedyna Financial Corp., both part of the Sumitomo financial branch. Mazda would keep the remaining 51%.

Benefits for both are easy to unveil. Mazda has no captive financial services offering outside of Japan (only partnerships with local financers) and Toyota wants to optimize its own captive’s performance in a shrinking Japanese market. The alliance delivers global coverage to Mazda and domestic optimisation to Toyota


It’s unclear at this stage which service lines will be shared between the two, although it looks like the main focus is on stock finance and commercial loans. Neither OEM has released intentions to join leasing products.

Authored by: Yves Helven