Toyota is reported to be considering a possible partnership with Ford, with the focus of the deal to center on an alliance in technological development. In an interview with the Nikkei Business Daily, Toyota President Katsuaki Watanabe stated that no talks have taken place as yet, but Toyota is open to the idea if Ford asks.

A Toyota spokeswoman mentioned that executives always meet with heads of other auto makers when opportunities occur and consider tie-ups if they are proposed. In December, Toyota Chairman Fujio Cho reportedly met with Ford boss Alan Mulally as the lead-up in potential partnership negotiations.

Ford already licenses Toyota’s hybrid engine technology for its Escape and Mariner SUVs, which it could also use in its range of pickup trucks and large SUVS. Analysts predict that Ford could gain substantially from a tie-up, while Toyota will edge even closer to overtaking General Motors as the world’s largest carmaker.