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Toyota, Ford to work on hybrids for trucks

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Toyota Motor Corp. (TM-N) and Ford Motor Co. (F-N) will work together to develop gasoline-electric trucks and SUVs that will be ready for market by the end of the decade, the two companies said Monday.

Ford and Toyota plan to collaborate on product development for the future rear-wheel drive hybrid vehicles as well as for telephone, Internet and entertainment systems.

Working as equal partners to develop hybrid SUVs and trucks will help each meet stringent U.S. federal fuel economy regulations, said Derrick Kuzak, Ford's product development chief.

There are no plans for collaboration beyond rear-wheel drive hybrids and on-board phone, navigation and entertainment systems, Kuzak said.

Toyota has been the world leader in hybrids since it introduced the Prius sedan in 1997. It has since sold 3.3 million hybrid vehicles. led by the Prius.

Ford has been a leader in pickup trucks, which are predominately sold in the United States and Canada. Its F-series pickup trucks have been the best-selling vehicle in the U.S. market since the 1970s.

The two companies will work on the details of a fuller agreement expected "sometime in 2012" that will lay out more specifically how they will collaborate, said Kuzak.

"We have a lot of details to work out with Ford before we can talk about our cooperation with Ford" more fully, said Takeshi Uchiyamada, Toyota's vice president for research and development.

Costs and scope of the collaboration have not yet been worked out, Uchiyamada said, and he said it was too early to tell if one company may bear more of the costs.

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