Ford Surrenders to Toyota

March 10, 2004 at 6:38 pm | Posted in Technology | Leave a comment

Ford has said that it will use Toyota’s gasoline-electric hybrid technology in the Ford Escape SUV.

Toyota, which recently overtook Ford in sales (in a typical show of Japanese humility – the claim was subsequently denied by Toyota itself) is hoping that Fords’ adoption of their technology will help it become a standard.

As a big fan of post-internal-combustion-engine technology, I was disappointed when GM cancelled their all-electric EV1. There are many North American companies pursuing post-hybrid technologies (all-electric and fuel cell), but I wonder how they will fare now that Toyota is setting its’ R&D dollars on the same goal, with Fords’ help. It could be that the automotive industry is becoming like the airplane industry, where the major auto makers only provide the chassis and sales/marketing, while other companies supply the major subsystems (powertrain, thermal, electrical, entertainment, etc…). There may be hope there, since systems engineering is still one area of engineering where American companies have an edge.

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