Ford and Toyota have signed a preliminary equal partnership agreement to develop a new rear-wheel-drive hybrid system for pickup trucks and SUVs. The automakers will probably sign the formal agreement in 2012, and both plan to offer new hybrid trucks and SUVs "later this decade." The partnership will help Ford and Toyota meet the tougher fuel economy standards that are scheduled to arrive in 2025.
Toyota and Ford have worked independently and successfully on hybrid systems, but sharing development efforts (and costs) should be a win-win scenario for both manufacturers, and hopefully a less expensive product for consumers.
The new hybrid trucks and SUVs will share common technology, but Ford and Toyota plan to tweak the systems to suit their individual needs.
The agreement also includes a partnership to develop a new generation of in-car telematics (wireless, GPS, telecommunications) and internet options.