Breaking: Ford And Toyota Cooperating On Trucks

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

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.
Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • Toy Maker Toy Maker on Aug 22, 2011

    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.

  • Jj99 Jj99 on Aug 22, 2011

    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.

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    • PintoFan PintoFan on Aug 22, 2011

      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.

  • Scoutdude Scoutdude on Aug 22, 2011

    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.

  • Eldard Eldard on Aug 22, 2011

    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.

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    • Eldard Eldard on Aug 23, 2011

      @Scoutdude 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.