Friday, December 30, 2011

Ford and Toyota Collaborating on Hybrid Technology and Telematics

Ford and Toyota announced that they are working together on a new more efficient hybrid system and advanced telematics. Ford has developed an excellent reputation for trucks, and Toyota has owned the hybrid car market for a couple decades. So, it stands to reason that the two should be partnering to develop a hybrid system for light trucks and SUVs.

As stated in an August 2011 press release, "Ford and Toyota have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on the product development collaboration, with the formal agreement expected by next year." That understanding will see them acting as equal partners to create a new rear-wheel drive hybrid platform which will be ready for use later this decade.

Although Ford and Toyota had each been pursuing hybrid truck and SUV platforms, the two companies believe that "their collaboration will allow them to bring these hybrid technologies to customers sooner and more affordably than either company could have accomplished alone."

"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."

Takeshi Uchiyamada, Toyota executive vice president, Research & Development, said: "In 1997, we launched the first-generation Prius, the world's first mass-produced gasoline-electric hybrid. Since then, we have sold about 3.3 million hybrid vehicles. We expect to create exciting technologies that benefit society with Ford – and we can do so through the experience the two companies have in hybrid technology."

The two companies also agreed to work together on enablers to complement each company's existing telematics platform standards, helping bring more Internet-based services and useful information to consumers globally.

"By working together, we will be able to serve our customers with the very best affordable, advanced powertrains, delivering even better fuel economy," said Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally. "This is the kind of collaborative effort that is required to address the big global challenges of energy independence and environmental sustainability."

Toyota President Akio Toyoda added: "Toyota is extremely proud to join Ford in developing a hybrid system for pickup trucks and SUVs. Not only is this tie-up clearly one aimed at making automobiles ever better, it should also become an important building block for future mobility in the U.S. By building a global, long-term relationship with Ford, our desire is to be able to continue to provide people in America automobiles that exceed their expectations."

Both companies have agreed to collaborate on standards and technologies needed to enable a safer, more secure and more convenient in-car experience for next-generation telematics systems.

"Ford has made tremendous progress in the area of telematics," Kuzak said. "We have unique and very good solutions today with SYNC and MyFordTouch. Working together on in-vehicle standards can only enhance our customers' experience with their vehicles."

Uchiyamada added: "Toyota has also invested heavily in telematics in various countries around the world, with services like the G-BOOK and G-Link. In the U.S., we have just introduced the accessible, easy-to-use Entune. By sharing our know-how and experience, we would like to offer even better telematics services in the future."

The collaboration between Ford and Toyota is likely to produce results that will set industry standards. The two automotive giants will create the next generation of telematics and in-car Internet based technology systems. They will also create a rear-wheel-drive hybrid system that delivers a major improvement in fuel efficiency.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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