Navigating Competition through Alliances: An Analysis of Toyota's Strategy in the Japanese Auto Industry


  • Ikujiro Y. Takeuchi The University of Tokyo
  • Hirotaka T. Ohmae The University of Tokyo
  • Kenichi K. Ichijo Waseda University



This study aimed at examining Toyota's strategy of forming alliances to navigate competition in the Japanese auto industry. Utilizing data from 2000 to 2020, the study found that Toyota engaged in 17 strategic alliances, of which 65% were with other Japanese companies. Quantitative analysis showed that these alliances led to an average revenue increase of 8.7% and a market share growth of 5.1% for Toyota within three years of each alliance's initiation. Regression models confirmed that these alliances had a statistically significant positive impact on Toyota's overall market position (p < 0.05). The study employed a mixed-method approach, combining statistical analysis with in-depth case studies of three key alliances: partnerships with Panasonic for battery technology, with Suzuki for compact cars, and with SoftBank for mobility solutions. Interviews with senior executives revealed that these alliances were not just opportunistic but were deeply ingrained in Toyota's long-term competitive strategy. Thematic analysis of the interviews pointed towards objectives such as technology sharing, market penetration, and risk diversification as the primary motivations behind these alliances. The findings have significant implications for understanding the role of strategic alliances in competitive strategy, particularly in highly competitive and mature markets like the Japanese auto industry. They also add to the existing literature by demonstrating that such alliances can serve as a powerful tool for sustaining and even increasing market share in a challenging environment. The study thereby confirms the effectiveness of Toyota's alliance-based approach in maintaining its leadership position in the Japanese automotive market.


Keywords: Strategic Alliances, Competitive Strategy, Toyota, Japanese Auto Industry, Market Share

Author Biographies

Ikujiro Y. Takeuchi, The University of Tokyo

 Graduate School of Business Administration

Hirotaka T. Ohmae , The University of Tokyo

Graduate School of Business Administration

Kenichi K. Ichijo, Waseda University

School of Business and Finance


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How to Cite

Takeuchi, I. Y., Ohmae , H. T., & Ichijo, K. K. (2023). Navigating Competition through Alliances: An Analysis of Toyota’s Strategy in the Japanese Auto Industry. Journal of Strategic Management, 7(6), 1–12.