Sony Corp. Kazuo Hirai tells the Financial Times the company would "absolutely" consider a partnership with a traditional carmaker or perhaps developing its own electric car, although he says there are no immediate plans to do so.
Hirai emphasizes Sony will remain committed to consumer electronics. But he says automotive has appeal if the company "can make a difference" in that industry. Analysts point out that Sony's experience in lithium-ion battery technology and robotic-related artificial intelligence could prove valuable in the automotive market.
Hirai suggests the company's consumer focus also could help non-traditional carmakers learn how to create "emotional value" that connects consumers to their vehicles.
Although the RAV4 has plenty of heritage in the small crossover segment, competition has gotten a whole lot tougher, so Toyota has made significant changes to the fourth-generation model.
It’s the fifth generation of a vehicle that has been increasing in sales year after year since its introduction in 1997.
For conducting business in the U.S. market, Toyota has historically had several separate business entities: a sales and distribution company headquartered in California (Toyota Motor Sales, USA); manufacturing operations (Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America); a racing subsidiary (Toyota Racing Development, USA); the Toyota Technical Center for R&D in Ann Arbor; and a design facility in California (Calty Design Research, Inc.). On April 1, 2006, Toyota merged its R&D operations and its manufacturing operations into a single company.