Ford Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. have stepped up discussions on sharing development of an electric-petrol hybrid vehicle, the Wall Street Journal reported. Discussions about hybrid systems, which could be produced in North America, started in July 2000 after a meeting between Ford’s former chief executive, Jacques Nasser, and Toyota chairman Hiroshi Okuda, the newspaper said in its online edition. A Toyota spokesman in Tokyo said that Toyota had been talking with Ford on a variety of topics, but that nothing specific had been decided. A Ford spokeswoman said the car makers were not close to any agreement. Toyota affiliate Aisin AW CO. Ltd. announced earlier this year that it will supply Ford with key components for the Ford Escape HEV compact sport/utility vehicle, run by a petrol-electric hybrid system. The Escape HEV goes on sale in 2003.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials