Ford and Toyota have announced that they will co-develop a hybrid system for rear-wheel-drive light trucks and SUVs
The deal will allow the two companies to develop the technology to meet strict new fuel deadlines more quickly and affordably.
The companies said they did not plan to collaborate on developing the vehicles themselves, instead using the hybrid system they develop to power separate models under the Ford and Toyota brands. The resulting hybrid trucks would go on sale later this decade, they said, without providing a more specific timeframe.
Ford and Toyota said they also intended to collaboratively develop new technology for information and entertainment systems in vehicles, with the goal of offering more Internet-based services and useful data to drivers.
The two companies signed a memorandum of understanding, and the next step is drawing up a formal agreement, and a feasibility study to determine the extent of the collaboration.
"This agreement brings together the capability of two global leaders in hybrid vehicles and hybrid technology to develop a better solution more quickly and affordably for our customers," said Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development. "Ford achieved a breakthrough with the Ford Fusion Hybrid, and we intend to do this again for a new group of truck and SUV buyers - customers we know very well."
This is not the first time Ford and Toyota have worked together. The two companies signed a patent-sharing deal in 2005 that allowed Ford to license Toyota’s Synergy Hybrid system for the Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner hybrids. In exchange, Toyota gained access to Ford’s diesel and direct-injection engine technology. However, this is the first time the two automakers have worked together on product development.