TOKYO - Toyota Motor Corp. is pulling Yamaha Motor Co., maker of motorcycles and performance automobile engines, into its fold.
Toyota will buy a 5 percent stake in Yamaha Motor from Yamaha Corp., which owns 33.3 percent of Yamaha Motor. Toyota thus will become Yamaha Motor's second-largest shareholder, at a cost of about ¥10.5 billion, or about $100 million at current exchange rates.
This investment and a similar investment in Toyota shares by the two Yamaha concerns aim to strengthen the companies' cooperation in three areas: the development and manufacture of vehicle engines, motorsports and marine engines.
Toyota President Fujio Cho called it 'a major milestone for us.'
Yamaha Motor and Toyota have a relationship that dates back 30 years, when Yamaha first supplied the engine for Toyota's 2000GT sports car.
Yamaha Motor currently supplies engines for Toyota's RAV4, Supra and Altezza, known in the United States as the Lexus IS300 and in Europe as the IS200.
Yamaha also has supplied engines to Ford Motor Co., most notably for the late Taurus SHO.
Despite the tie-up with Toyota, 'We will retain our independence,' said Yamaha Motor President Takehiko Hasegawa, who worked on the original 200GT project. 'Our relationship with Ford will remain unchanged.'
The deal could lead to Yamaha Motor supplying engines for Toyota's Formula One racing efforts. Cho declined to emphasize one area of business over another, saying, 'They are equally important.'
'So far, we have asked Yamaha to do development and production (of engines). But in the future, we may ask them to do development only,' he added.
As part of the deal, Yamaha Corp., a maker of music instruments and electronics, and Yamaha Motor each will buy half a million shares of Toyota. With Toyota shares recently trading around $43 a share, Yamaha and Yamaha Motor together will pay about $41 million for their Toyota shares.
Yamaha Corp. will use the additional money it gains from the transactions for operating funds, including correcting its underfunded pension liabilities, said Kazukiyo Ishimura, the president.