In a surprise development both Ford and Toyota have announced an agreement to co-develop a hybrid power train for rear-wheel drive light trucks and SUV’s. The co-development agreement is an effort to share costs and to bring a new hybrid power train to market faster. Both companies already have front-wheel-drive hybrid systems, this new architecture, expected later this decade, fills a hole in their technology platforms. Toyota and Ford have acknowledged that American drivers of light trucks and SUV’s have been slow to move to vehicles with higher gas mileage performance. The new hybrid power train is to help those drivers achieve better mileage in their pick up trucks and SUV’s vehicles. The agreement between Ford and Toyota came from a chance run in at an airport between the top CEO’s of both companies. Despite the joint effort, Ford and Toyota will continue to make their own vehicles and compete for market share around the world. Ford and Toyota lead the rest of the automotive world in the development and selling of hybrid vehicles. Both companies have sold millions of hybrids over the last decade giving them a clear lead in the development of a new hybrid power train. Ford and Toyota have also focused on providing all-electric versions of their vehicles as well. Ford is introducing an all-electric Focus at the end of this year, while Toyota is introducing an all-electric RAV4. Both companies have plans to introduce plug-in hybrids as well. Since the government has raised fuel efficiency standards the collaboration makes even more sense.
Photo Credit: Ford Motor Company