Top executives from Toyota and Ford met last week to discuss a potential partnership. Both Ford CEO Alan Mulally and Toyota Chairman Fujio Cho were present at the meeting and discussed Ford’s use of hybrid and fuel-cell technologies, as well as combining their vast purchasing power to further reduce costs.

Though the talks are well short of an alliance, the two rivals may be able to develop or build technology that may have been too expensive to do otherwise.

The last few months have been full of merger talk, with both GM and Ford citing an interest in working with Renault-Nissan. No deal eventuated from these discussions, but Ford’s talks with Toyota could be more fruitful. Toyota already build small cars in collaboration with the PSA Group, comprising Peugeot and Citroen, and could be keen to develop a model with Ford. We’ll have to wait and see how this pans out. It shouldn't be too long with an industry filled with loose-lipped executives.

Update: Toyota has released a statement claiming that it did have discussions with senior Ford executives, but they were just to get acquainted. There were no talks of discussions. The Japanese newspapers that originally broke the story claim to have sources that confirm a partnership may be on the cards.