Pass the Joint Venture
Ford and Toyota are considering whether to jointly produce a gas-electric hybrid in North America. No deal has been signed yet, but the two companies have already selected the kind of vehicle and the technology that would be used, says John Wallace, executive director of Ford’s alternative-propulsion division. Both companies have incentives to seal the deal. Toyota executive Shin Kanada said collaborating with Ford would “expand economies of scale in hybrids,” bringing big cost savings to Toyota. Ford, meanwhile, has pledged to improve the fuel-efficiency of its SUVs 25 percent by 2005; partnering with Toyota, which has a head start in hybrid technology, could help the American automaker meet that goal.