In order to compete with the rear-drive hybrid system jointly developed between GM, Daimler-Chrysler and BMW, Ford will partner with rival Toyota to develop a rear-drive hybrid drivetrain that will be shared between both automakers. The goal of the project is to produce a truck and SUV platform that will improve fuel economy without reducing payload or towing capacity. The platform will also go head to head with GM’s Two-Mode hybrid truck platform, currently used on hybrid versions of their full-size pickups and SUVs.
Both automakers are also scrambling for credits available to manufacturers who introduce hybrid vehicles into their lineups. By 2016, automakers must achieve a CAFE rating of 35.5 mpg across all car and light truck vehicle lines, and hybrid credits can be used to offset numbers that would otherwise fall short.
In addition to working together on a rear-drive hybrid system, Ford and Toyota will also partner on basic systems for in-car information technologies such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It’s unknown if this collaboration will give Toyota access to Ford’s MyFord Touch/Synch telematics system, which is among the most advanced on the market.