The move should ensure the future viability of full-size pickups and SUVs in a world of rising oil prices and increased environmental awareness.
The new rear-wheel drive hybrid technology will be based on a brand new architecture to deliver the capability pickup truck and SUV customers demand while providing greater fuel economy.
Importantly, while the rear-wheel drive hybrid system will share significant common technology and components, Ford and Toyota will individually integrate the system into their own vehicles. Each automaker also will determine the calibration and performance dynamics characteristics of their respective vehicles.
The two automakers also announced plans to co-develop new standards for next-generation in-car telematics and Internet-based services. The telematics collaboration relates only to standards and technologies, and each company will continue to separately develop their own in-vehicle products and features.
So far both automakers have only signed a Memorandum of Understanding, with the project still undergoing a feasibility study. Thus, specific details of what to expect are yet to be released.
The hope is that the collaboration will allow the automakers to bring these technologies to customers sooner and more affordably than either could have accomplished alone.
More details should be released when Ford and Toyota sign a formal agreement next year. For an in-depth look at the new alliance and what it may entail, head over to our sister site GreenCarReports.