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.
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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.