Toyota is a clear market leader in hybrid-electric technology, so it’s not surprising that Ford’s CEO Alan Mulally is interested in forming an alliance with the Japanese giant in order to co-develop the enviro-friendly drivetrains. Mulally met with Toyota Chairman Fujio Cho in December last year, signaling that a possible deal could be announced soon, and in an interview with Japan’s Kyodo News, Mulally admitted working with Toyota in developing technologies such as fuel-cells would be valuable for both.

"I anticipate that the automobile manufacturers will increase their collaboration and their partnership on developing the technology for even more fuel-efficient vehicles," he said. "It's a kind of natural thing for all of us to do, to accelerate the development of the technologies."

In most cases, if senior executives are talking about it this much then it’s highly likely that it will happen. The two companies have already signed a licensing agreement that allows Ford to use Toyota’s own hybrid patents, and Mulally added in the interview that he “looks forward to regular exchanges with the Toyota leadership team."