August 22, 2011
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Ford, Toyota to jointly build new hybrid powertrain for trucks, SUVs
So, do you think this is good or bad for Ford and Toyota invetors?
I think good because it will spread the cost of R&D between the two companies and help each to meet the CAFE standards by making their bread and butter vehicles more efficient instead of by cranking out more little cars that are sold at cost or a loss.
I'm a little worried. I hate Ford trucks and really love Toyota trucks. I'd hate it if in the end, it was a hybrid Toyota engine in a Ford body. I better get me a Tacoma soon just in case....
I think Ford and Toyota have a closer relationship than a lot of people realize.
I really wish I could remember the details on this, but it was a conversation I was involved in 18-20 years ago. It was when I was working at the mine in the arctic. The mine used almost exclusively Toyota Landcruisers.
I was talking to one of the mechanics there and he happened to mention that the powertrain for the Toyota Landcruiser was identical to some Ford product that I can't remember. He was pretty much telling me that they'd worked in collaboration to build that particular drivetrain.
Also, here in Ontario, when they were closing down the Ford plants, the Toyota plant in Woodstock was eager to hire their employees ahead of anyone from GM or Chrysler.
For the record, at the mine, the Toyotas had an excellent reputation for being able to withstand the brutal rigors they were put through. They had a Dodge Ram which I understood didn't hold up well and was never taken underground, and long after I was gone they bought a Hummer which didn't fare well, either.
Blew my mind kdakota. You worked at a mine in the arctic?
My dad got hired there as a mechanic in 1983-84, I don't remember exactly, but they had a program where if workers stayed there over Christmas and New Years that they'd fly families up for 2 weeks, so I was there for Christmas in 1984, 1985, and 1988, and another program for children of employees to work there for summers if they were going to college or university, so I worked there for 12 weeks in 1991 and 8 weeks in 1993. (As an added bonus, and I have no idea why, I easily had the cushiest job on the entire island.)
Anyway, yes. Here's a link to where I was.
It's not a bad deal, or very surprising, either. Ford licensed the Camry hybrid system for the Fusion a few years ago, and from what I've read the improvements they made impressed Toyota a lot. Given that relationship and history, it isn't surprising they're working together on a hybrid pickup/SUV system.
But look at the truck market and it's clear that Ford is the big winner in this deal. Toyota put a mountain of money and effort into the 2007 Tundra. It wasn't a half-assed attempt like the T100 or first generation Tundra - but it's been a massive failure for Toyota. The F-series outsold the Tundra last year by more than 5:1. Even the poorest selling Big Three pickup - the Dodge Ram - doubled the sales of the Tundra.
Take that and add in the market's move away from body-on-frame SUV's, and I gotta wonder how long it's going to make sense for Toyota to stay in this segment? They could be developing this new powertrain for models where their combined total sales are less than 100,000 units a year, and the hybrid take rate a fraction of that.
By contrast, Ford will sell more than that many EcoBoost F-150's this year alone. If/when $5 gas becomes the norm, it's very easy to imagine a F-Series hybrid could sell well over 150,000 units annually just by itself.