Ford and Toyota have announced the end of their planned joint development of a hybrid platform for SUVs and small utes before the project had even begun.
The platform was intended to result in a range of SUVs and utes with high fuel efficiency while still maintaining the performance and off-road capabilities expected by their owners.
The announcement doesn’t mean the car makers won’t pursue hybrid powertrains for larger vehicles in the future – it just means they won’t be doing so together.
Despite the announcement, the two car makers will continue to jointly develop in-car telematics and back-end support systems for Ford and Toyota customers.
Ford stated that it plans to release its own rear-wheel-drive hybrid platform before the end of this decade. Toyota claims it is on track to release 18 new or redesigned hybrid models globally by the end of 2015, however no mention has been made of a hybrid utility vehicle since its Prius-based 2008 A-BAT concept (pictured).
Toyota claims it has sold over five million hybrid vehicles worldwide. It estimates that these sales have resulted in approximately 34 million fewer tons of CO2 emissions being emitted by passenger vehicles, and has saved owners more than three billion gallons (approximately 11 billion litres) of fuel.