Japan and the US are teaming up with two automotive powerhouses announcing a deal today to develop new hybrid systems and telematics standards. The joint venture will put Ford and Toyota as equal partners to accelerate bringing advanced hybrid systems to market. They will also be working towards next-generation standards, bringing the automotive industry in line with internet and GPS-based technologies.
The hybrid systems will be developed specifically for light trucks and SUVs, a market that is currently behind the smaller-vehicle market currently dominated by the Toyota Prius.
While not part of the announcement, Microsoft is believed to have a major hand in the deal. Their partnerships with both companies – Ford through the SYNC system and Toyota through a cloud computing initiative – combined with their experience in establishing technological standards makes it a clear fit.
“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. “Ford achieved a breakthrough with the Ford Fusion Hybrid, and we intend to do this again for a new group of truck and SUV buyers – customers we know very well.”
Toyota, known for being isolated as a company with few working-relationships with other automakers, is showing signs that this won’t be the only collaboration they’ll deliver in the coming months.
“Our collaboration with Ford is a move to make hybrid technology more widely available in sport-utility vehicles and in trucks,” said Takeshi Uchiyamada, executive vice president, Toyota Motor Corp. “Those kinds of models are indispensable to American customers. And providing them with our hybrid technology will help conserve energy and reduce output of greenhouse gas here in the United States. That was our thinking in considering the collaboration.”