Ford Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. are joining forces in a 50-50 partnership aimed at developing the next generation of hybrid technologies specifically to bolster the fuel efficiency of pickup trucks and sport-utility vehicles.
The new partnership, a clear response to recent federal mandates requiring automakers to boost fuel economy to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025 was triggered by a chance meeting in an airport lobby. As part of their new alliance, Toyota and Honda also plan to work together on advanced telematics systems that will pick up where today’s Ford Sync and Toyota Entune leave off.
Toyota and Ford are already the world’s two leading manufacturers of hybrid vehicles, the Japanese maker’s Prius sedan accounting for roughly half the gas-electric vehicles sold worldwide. But the challenge is to expand the technology to ensure that even the largest vehicles – like the Ford F-150 pickups and Toyota’s comparable Tunda truck – can deliver significantly better mileage.
“This agreement brings together the capability of two global leaders in hybrid vehicles and hybrid technology to develop a better solution more quickly and affordably for our customers,” said Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development.