A Toyota-Mazda platform-sharing program could bring about major changes for both brands.
This is a rumor that may be a bit out of left field. Back in May, news emerged that Mazda is working on a new straight-six SkyActiv platform. Called its “Large architecture”, it now appears Mazda may share that platform with Toyota. According to Japanese magazine Best Car, Lexus vehicles could ride on a Mazda-based platform with this straight-six engine before long.
According to a source close to Toyota, Best Car reports (as translated by Google Translate) that, “Development progressed on the premise that the straight-6 engine developed by Mazda was also installed on Toyota vehicles…” Taking that at face value, that means a straight-six engine could end up in Toyota’s future cars. At this point, the Japanese magazine contends that car could be the Lexus RC coupe.
The current model will reportedly stay on sale through 2022. Beyond that, however, Toyota may lean on Mazda’s platform to underpin the next-generation RC. Interestingly, this rumor also contends Lexus will introduce a gap-filler between the smaller RC and larger LC using the large Mazda platform. Best Car‘s translated article calls the middling car a “next car” for RC owners, but it’s not immediately clear what that means.
A straight-six resurgence
Even though straight-six engines fell out of favor some time back, it seems they will make a resurgence in sports cars throughout the 2020s. If this rumor does come to pass, it means we will see future Lexus vehicles with Mazda-developed platforms and engines. Right now, revamped Lexus models are sitting on Toyota’s New Global Architecture (TNGA-K) platform.
Nothing is official here yet, but Toyota and Mazda have been in a technical partnership since 2016. Toyota recently partnered with BMW on development of the new Supra. Over the coming years, it’s likely we will see more co-development of new models, as manufacturers push to tighten development cycles and reduce costs.