"Toyota, Ford to collaborate on hybrid trucks"
" Ford and Toyota plan to collaborate on product development for the future rear-wheel drive hybrid vehicles, as well as for telephone, Internet and entertainment systems.
Developing the hybrids will help each automaker meet stringent U.S. fueleconomy standards in coming years, said Takeshi Uchiyamada, vice president for Toyota research and development, and Derrick Kuzak, Ford's product development chief.
There are no plans for collaboration beyond rear-wheel drive hybrids and on-board phone, navigation and entertainment systems, Kuzak said.
Toyota has been the world leader in hybrids since it introduced the Prius sedan in 1997. It has since sold 3.3 million hybrid vehicles. led by the Prius, which like most fuel-efficient cars, has front-wheel drive.
Rear-wheel drive vehicles in the U.S. market include sports cars and high-performance sedans.
"This is the kind of collaborative effort that is required to address the big global challenges of energy independence and environmental sustainability," Ford Chief Executive Alan Mulally said in a prepared statement.
Toyota President Akio Toyoda, also in a prepared statement, said the tie-up "should also become an important building block for future mobility in the U.S."
While Toyota has led in hybrid sales, Ford has been a leader in pickup trucks, which are predominately sold in the United States and Canada. Its F-series pickup trucks have been the best-selling vehicle in the U.S. market since the 1970s.
The two companies will work on the details of a fuller agreement expected "sometime in 2012" that will lay out more specifically how they will collaborate, Kuzak said. (...)"