Ford to develop hybrid trucks solo after Toyota tie-up ends

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 July, 2013, 9:04am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 July, 2013, 9:04am

Ford and Toyota ended their partnership to develop hybrid pickup trucks and sport-utility vehicles after studying the feasibility of such a project for nearly two years, Ford said.

Ford, maker of the top-selling F-150 pickup truck, will develop its own rear-wheel drive hybrid system for trucks and SUVs, which will be available by the end of the decade.

“Both parties brought some significant insight to their portion of the project,” said Raj Nair, head of global product development in an interview. He said both companies were “pleased with the ability to progress separately.”

The two automakers will continue to develop “next-generation” standards for on-board phone, navigation and entertainment systems, the US automaker said in a release.

Ford and Toyota announced their tie-up in August 2011, saying the development of larger hybrid vehicles would help each automaker meet future US fuel economy standards.

Toyota has dominated the global hybrid market since it introduced the Prius sedan in 1997. The Japanese automaker accounted for about two-thirds of the US hybrid market in the first half of this year.

But Ford has made inroads in the US hybrid market this year on the strength of demand for the Fusion and C-Max hybrids in California and other markets. Ford made up 15 per cent of the US hybrid market during the first six months of this year, up from 3 per cent during the same time last year.