Toyota, Ford join forces to develop SUV, pickup hybrids


Derrick Kuzak, left, group vice president of global product development for Ford, and Takeshi Uchiyamada, executive vice president of research and development for Toyota.

TOKYO (majirox news) — Toyota Motor Co. and Ford Motor Co. will work together to develop hybrid systems for pickup trucks and sport-utility vehicles (SUV), the companies announced jointly Aug. 22.

The unlikely alliance grew from a chance meeting at an airport between Toyota President Akio Toyoda and Ford Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally and the two executives personally negotiated the preliminary agreement between the two corporations that hope to have a final agreement in place next year.

Toyota is the world’s biggest seller of hybrid vehicles, spearheaded by the Prius gasoline-electric car. The U.S. automaker plans to triple North American output of electric vehicles and hybrids by 2013.

Toyota and Ford join forces just months after U.S. President Barack Obama gained an agreement from U.S. automakers to double by 2025 the Corporate Average Fuel Economy for vehicles sold in the U.S.

Toyota and Ford did not say which pickups or SUVs will use the hybrid technology they develop together.

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