By on August 22, 2011

Ford and Toyota will “equally collaborate on the development of an advanced new hybrid system for light truck and SUV customers.”  A memorandum of understanding (MOU) on the product development collaboration, was signed today, with the formal agreement expected to be inked by next year. Both have been working independently on their rear-wheel drive hybrid systems. They have decided that it makes more sense to share the significant burden.

Both boast that they have a lot of experience. Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development, praises the  “breakthrough with the Ford Fusion Hybrid.” Takeshi Uchiyamada, Toyota executive vice president, Research & Development, mentions that “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.”
The two companies will not only share the morsels of their independently developed hybrid powertrain technology, they will also jointly work on telematics. The telematics collaboration relates only to standards and technologies, and each company will continue to separately develop their own in-vehicle products and features. Ford insists on its SYNC and MyFordTouch, Toyota wants to keep its G-BOOK, G-Link, and Entune. If the cooperation flourishes, expect that there will be more similarities behind the curtain.
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17 Comments on “Breaking: Ford And Toyota Cooperating On Trucks...”

  • avatar

    I suspect that the whole deal has a lot to do with the give and take of both parties needing something from the other to add to their own current patents, and thus cross-licensing them and building on that…

    (recall, one of Mulally’s first things upon coming to Ford was to jet on over to Toyota City to have a little sit-down with Watanabe-san … some say that this was so Ford could access some of TMC’s hybrid IP, as well as to get some support that TMC’s suppliers would find the capacity to support the Hybrid Escape and Fusion cars…)

    btw, the truck on the right in the banner pic is a chevy or gmc K-5 blazer…

  • avatar
    Sammy B

    Interesting. Certainly seems like a win for both sides. I would imagine Toyota is bringing a little more on the R&D side whereas Ford brings more on the volume side to help get the unit costs down.

    [note: that’s not a knock on either side. Not intended to belittle whatever Ford’s technical/R&D side is]

  • avatar

    With group- and corporate-think at play perhaps they will arrive at the available-to-the-consumer in-dash eight-track tape player!!!!!

  • avatar

    It makes perfect sense, decrease R&D costs, increase volume, and screw GM in the process. Both these companies want all of those things.

  • avatar

    What’s so entirely sad about this is that the Big 3 had a HUGE lead on the Japanese car companies in the EV/hybrid area, since they each had dedicated EV teams (GM – EV1 & S10EV, Ford – Ranger EV, Chrysler – TEVan) aready in place by the early 1990s. If that effort had been continued and allowed to migrate into the hybrid arena . . . but of course, the 1990s was the decade of the ever-expanding SUV and we all know how that turned out.

    It’s the VCR story all over again. We invent the technology, and then somebody else goes on to actually make something of it. And then we buy it back from them.

  • avatar

    It seems like a hybrid truck would be a great idea, especially if it was based on an existing 2WD drivetrain, and adds a motor/generator coupled to each front wheel. The front wheels do most of the braking, which would be good for regen, and you’d have 4WD without the extra weight of the transfer case.

  • avatar

    The low sales of GM’s large hybrids is a tale of caution here, I think. Especially so after the technical excellency of the two-mode system was universally praised.

    • 0 avatar

      The problem with 2 mode was costs. It is terribly expensive. 50k for a Tahoe with it. Also, it does make some weird noises when accelerating and braking. I wouldn’t want to spend that much money on a vehicle that sounds like the 2 mode hybrid did. If it can be a smaller premium and more normal audio experience, I think it would have done better.

  • avatar
    Toy Maker

    I’d be up for a hybrid truck anytime.
    The JDM Nissan Cube came with an e-AWD option where the gas engine drives the front wheel like normal and the rear wheels have separate electric motors to help those little cars get out of snow in the winter. No transfer case.

    Now we just need a beefed up version of that setup.

  • avatar

    Sounds like Ford needs to purchase hybrid technology from Toyota, and they hope to offer car communication technology in trade. In my opinion, Toyota hybrid technology is worth far more than what Ford has to offer. Give Ford marketing credit in spinning this story such that it sounds like Ford has hybrid technology that has some value to Toyota.

    But, from Ford’s standpoint, it is smart to purchase swaths of Toyota’s hybrid technology.

    • 0 avatar

      Ford has the cash and the market share to make the investment worth while. Toyota took a good hit with the Tsunami and they don’t have the full size market share in the US to make it worth it to go it on their own.

    • 0 avatar

      So I guess that neither the Escape or Fusion hybrids exist, and that neither has been highly profitable for Ford, and that neither have sold in large quantities or received good reviews? I know I’m probably wasting my breath by arguing with a member of the Toyhonda Defense Brigade, but your denial of Ford’s hybrid capabilities is pretty comical. The reason Toyota went in for this partnership is that they finally realized that they’re never going to crack the large-truck market on their own, so they’re hoping to purloin some of Ford’s market share while trying to sell Ford technology that they had already developed.

  • avatar

    It wouldn’t surprise me to see in the not too distant future an arrangement similar to what Ford has with Navistar for their MD trucks.

    The Ford F650, F750 and International NGVs come off the same Blue Diamond assembly line on the same basic rolling chassis. The cabs and engine choices are exclusive but pretty much everything else is shared.

  • avatar

    Agree. Ford will benefit the most. Toyota is not thinking straight. If they need the cash, they can easily borrow since they’re the largest industrial corporation in the world.

    • 0 avatar

      It just doesn’t make sense for Toyota to invest the kind of money that would be needed considering their volume. So it’s either team up with Ford or exit the full size market.

      • 0 avatar

        On second thought, though, it really doesn’t matter if you give away current tech. (Only Americans get hung up on such a thing.) What matters is who can innovate faster.

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