Toyota sells last stake in Tesla, ending 'historic' partnership

A Toyota RAV4 EV car with a Tesla battery is seen at the sixth annual Alternative Transportation Expo and Conference (AltCar), on Sept 29, 2011.
A Toyota RAV4 EV car with a Tesla battery is seen at the sixth annual Alternative Transportation Expo and Conference (AltCar), on Sept 29, 2011.PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (BLOOMBERG) - Toyota Motor Corp has sold its last stake in Californian electric carmaker Tesla Motors, a spokeswoman for Japan's largest carmaker said.

The sale marks the end of collaboration between the two companies for now, Toyota spokeswoman Akiko Kita said by phone on Saturday (June 3). Toyota held 1.43 per cent in Tesla as of July 2016, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

In 2010, Toyota acquired a US$50 million stake in Tesla as automakers were competing to introduce less-polluting vehicles in the US and sold a shuttered California factory to Tesla for US$42 million. The two companies then started to jointly develop RAV4 electric vehicles in Canada in 2011 and later sold about 2,500 units over three years amid culture clashes and recalls.

Toyota formed its own unit to develop electric cars in November 2016 and aimed to introduce electric cars soon.

In May 2010, as the emerging alliance took shape, Elon Musk called the partnership "historic" and said Toyota was a company he had long admired. In describing his test drive of the Tesla Roadster about a month earlier, Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota said he felt "the wind of the future".

Shares of Tesla have risen by almost 60 per cent this year.