Toyota Prius

Ford Fusion Hybrid

Ford F-150
The new hybrid system will be aimed at RWD, full-size trucks and SUVs

Ford and Toyota are both quite capable of producing class-leading hybrid cars. Ford is doing well with its [midsize] segment-leading Fusion Hybrid, and we all know how popular Toyota's Prius is with buyers around the world.

However, Ford and Toyota today announced that they would join forces to develop a new hybrid system that will be used in much larger vehicles: rear-wheel drive full-size pickups and SUVs. Both companies are a little light on details on the moment, but the pair has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on the development of the hybrid system, while a formal agreement will be drawn up in 2012. 

“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.”

"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,” added Takeshi Uchiyamada, Toyota executive vice president of Research and Development. 

The new hybrid system will go a long way towards further improving the fuel economy of the vehicles that continually drag down the CAFE for automakers. Whereas a Prius is rated at 50mpg combined and the Fusion Hybrid is rated at 39mpg combined, the most fuel efficient F-150 (one of the best selling trucks in America) is rated at 18mpg combined in its most efficient V6-engine trim.

In other Ford/Toyota news, the unlikely pair also announced that they will be teaming up to provide design standards for the next generation infotainment/telematics system with cloud-based services for automobiles. 

"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer

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