Suzuki and SkyDrive sign deal to develop and market 'flying cars'

By REUTERS | 22 March 2022

TOKYO: Suzuki Motor Corp and 'flying car' firm SkyDrive Inc said today they have signed a deal to team up in research, development and marketing of electric, vertical takeoff and landing aircraft.

In a joint statement, the two companies said they will also work to open up new markets with an initial focus on India, where Suzuki has a roughly half share of the auto market.

Suzuki announced on Sunday it plans to invest 104.4 billion rupees (RM5.8bil) in its India factory to produce electric vehicles and batteries.

The companies didn't disclose details of investments in their partnership, nor outline any production timetable or target.

Founded in 2018, Tokyo-headquartered SkyDrive counts big Japan businesses like trading house Itochu Corp, tech firm NEC Corp and a unit of energy company Eneos Holdings Inc among its main shareholders. In 2020 it raised 5.1 billion yen (RM177mil) in total in Series B funds, according to its website.

SkyDrive is involved in the development of a compact, two-seating electric-powered flying car with plans for full-scale production. The statement did not say whether Suzuki would be working on this specific vehicle.

The company, which is also developing cargo drones, aims to launch a "flying car" service in Osaka in 2025 when the Japanese city hosts the World Expo.

For Suzuki, the partnership will add "flying cars" as a fourth mobility business, in addition to automobiles, motorcycles and outboard motors, the statement said.