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Ford and Toyota to team on hybrid system for trucks and SUVs

August 22, 2011 |  7:21 am



Ford Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. announced they would work together to develop an advanced hybrid drivetrain system for light truck and SUV customers.
The two automakers have signed a memorandum of understanding on the product development collaboration, with a formal agreement expected by next year.

The companies have worked independently on rear-wheel drive hybrid systems. This new hybrid powertrain will bring greater fuel efficiency to new trucks and sport utility vehicles without compromising the capability drivers require in their vehicles, Ford said.

Ford and Toyota said they believed their collaboration would allow them to bring these hybrid technologies to customers sooner and more affordably than either company could alone.

“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 of 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.”

Takeshi Uchiyamada, Toyota executive vice president for research and development, said: “In 1997, we launched the first-generation Prius, the world’s first mass-produced gasoline-electric hybrid. Since then, we have sold about 3.3 million hybrid vehicles. We expect to create exciting technologies that benefit society with Ford -- and we can do so through the experience the two companies have in hybrid technology.”

The hyrbid drivetrains will help both companies meet increasingly stringent federal fuel economy rules.

The automakers also said they will work together to develop telematics platform standards. Improving telematics, such as Ford's Sync system, will reduce driver distraction and bring more Internet-based services and useful information to consumers globally, Ford said.

The companies will also look at issues concerning cell phone connectivity and internet communications security in vehicles.


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Photo: Line worker assembles a 2012 Ford Focus at the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich. Credit: Associated Press