Over four years ago, Ford and Toyota announced plans to collaborate on a hybrid pickup truck. That partnership has long since been dissolved, but it seems that the bad blood between the two global automakers lingers on.
According to Automotive News, Toyota Senior Manager of Powertrains Koei Saga said that the hybrid pickup partnership had progressed quite far before Ford Motor Company decided to pull the plug. He remarked that Ford may even have been simply using the Japanese automaker for its expertise on hybrid powertrains, with no intention of reciprocating with any of its own contributions.
“I don’t know whether they stole, but we proposed all the technologies we had,” said Saga. “It even went as far as the drawings.” When Ford dissolved the hybrid pickup partnership, the automaker took those ideas with them.
In response, says Automotive News, Ford spokesman Said Deep claimed that Ford’s decision had everything to do with a feasibility study, which allegedly found Ford’s own technology better-suited to a rear-wheel drive hybrid pickup system. No details were offered. “We remain on plan to bring our new hybrid system to market by the end of this decade,” said Deep.
The idea of the hybrid pickup truck is nothing new; General Motors previously offered a hybrid version of the Chevrolet Silverado full-size pickup from 2004, all the way up through 2011. With gasoline prices as low as they are, some might speculate that a hybrid pickup would again fail to prove feasible in the marketplace.
Now, however, stricter fuel economy requirements in the US might force plenty of automakers to implement hybrid technology in more segments, and keep it on the market. Despite the cancellation of the Ford-Toyota hybrid pickup partnership, the Japanese automaker is working on developing its own answer to whatever Ford Motor Company brings out.