Ford and Toyota typically compete tooth-and-nail in the world's auto markets, but in a startling turn of events the two mammoth companies have announced that they will collaborate as equal partners to develop and market a new advanced hybrid system for light trucks and SUVs. The co-developed hybrid system is expected to be ready for use later this decade on Ford and Toyota rear-wheel-drive light trucks and SUVs. The two companies also announced that they will collaborate on development of next-generation standards for in-car telematics and Internet-based services.

When it comes to hybrids, Toyota and Ford are powerhouses.

They are the world's top two companies in sales of hybrid-powered light vehicles, and the new agreement commemorated by a memorandum of understanding could give them an even bigger lead against their competitors.

Both companies have been working independently on their own future-generation rear-wheel-drive hybrid systems. The new hybrid system for light trucks and SUVs is expected to bring the full hybrid experience of greater fuel efficiency to truck and SUV customers without compromising the capability they require in their vehicles. Ford and Toyota say their collaboration will allow them to bring the hybrid technologies to customers sooner and more affordably than either company could have accomplished alone.

"By working together, we will be able to serve our customers with the very best affordable, advanced powertrains, delivering even better fuel economy," says Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally. "This is the kind of collaborative effort that is required to address the big global challenges of energy independence and environmental sustainability."

"Not only is this tie-up clearly one aimed at making automobiles ever better, it should also become an important building block for future mobility in the U.S.," says Toyota President Akio Toyoda. "By building a global, long-term relationship with Ford, our desire is to be able to continue to provide people in America automobiles that exceed their expectations."

While the hybrid system will be developed and owned jointly, each company will deploy the system in its truck and SUV products independently.



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Driving Today: Ford and Toyota to Develop New Hybrids