Ford and Toyota to end hybrid system partnership

Article by Anita Panait, on July 24, 2013

Ford Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. would terminate a partnership to develop gasoline-electric systems for pickups and sports utility vehicles. Raj Nair, Ford’s product development chief, told Bloomberg through telephone that the carmaker is on pace to bring its rear-wheel-drive hybrid system to market later this decade.

He said that Toyota and Ford mutually agreed to end their partnership after the research and development phase. Nair remarked that both Ford and Toyota “gained from each other’s expertise and insight.” He told Bloomberg that they have developed “a lot of expertise in-house” and determined that they could deliver the system on their own. Ford chief executive Alan Mulally and Toyota President Akio Toyoda personally handled the discussions over the partnership, which was announced in August 2011.

After then, Ford has increased sales of hybrid and plug-in versions of the Fusion sedan and the C-Max wagon in the United States, threatening the dominance of the Japanese carmaker in the country’s hybrid market with its Prius.

Ford and Toyota will still work jointly on standards for in-car technology and communication systems. Toyota said in a statement that the carmakers also "will consider other areas for future collaboration as well."

Nair said that Ford and Toyota have inked a deal in China to share emergency and customer-call centers. Ford recently disclosed that it more than quintupled its electric-drive deliveries to 46,197 in the first half of 2013. Toyota still leads the segment with 176,506 sales, reflecting a 4.4-percent rise over 2012. According to data compiled by Bloomberg, electric-drive deliveries across the industry surged 23 percent to over 287,000 units.

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