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Ford will join Toyota as equal partners in developing a new hybrid system for light trucks (read pick-ups) and SUVs for greater fuel efficiency and cleaner CO2 emissions.

The new Hybrid won’t be based Toyota’s existing Hybrid Synergy Drive or Ford’s Fusion system, but rather, an entirely new hybrid drive system that will deliver ground-breaking fuel economy without compromising the required performance of light trucks and SUVs.

Ford’s group vice president Global Product development, Derrick Kuzak, said,

“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. 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.”

From the Toyota side, Takeshi Uciyamada, 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.”

In addition, both companies have agreed on enablers that will work with existing telematics platforms from each company so as to provide more web-based services to customers on a global basis.

The terms of the Memorandum of Understanding mean that Ford and Toyota will bring their most advanced hybrid technologies to the table to co-develop a new hybrid system for light trucks and SUVs.

These will be rear-wheel drive vehicles slated for production in several year’s time and delivering greater fuel economy as well as dynamic performance.

Ford President and CEO, Allan Mulally said that

“By working together, we will be able to serve our customers with the very best affordable, advanced powertrains, delivering even better fuel economy.”

An all-new architecture will be developed to bring this rear-wheel drive hybrid technology to market in light trucks and SUVs, which is capable of delivering solid performance, but with considerably improved fuel economy over existing vehicles in these segments.

While the new hybrid drive will share many common components and technology, each car company will be individually responsible for integrating the system into their vehicles.

Both companies will continue to enhance their own telematics services to enhance the in-car experience further.

Ford already has features such as SYNC and MyFordTouch, while Toyota employs services like G-BOOK and G-Link, and has just introduced their mobile App interface ‘Entune’.

The end goal is essentially to create the next generation of automobile and Ford and Toyota seem more than willing to cooperate to make that happen in the shortest possible time.