Toyota Plans Hybrid Pickup, Upset Over Ford Collaboration

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Auto shows, like the recent one – the 2015 L.A. show – are great places to look at new products and upgrades to existing ones. They are also great places to pick up gossip between automakers like Toyota being pissed at Ford over a failed hybrid collaboration. Like really pissed.

Toyota Plans Hybrid Pickup, Upset Over Ford Collaboration

This logo could be under the hood of a Tundra truck before you know it.

The story, as reported on, has Toyota’s Koei Saga, senior managing officer in charge of Toyota’s powertrain division, suggesting Ford milked the 2011 partnership for all of Toyota’s hybrid information before abruptly pulling the plug.

“Because we proposed everything,” Saga said to “Well, I don’t know whether they stole, but we proposed all the technologies we had. It even went as far as the drawings.

Technologically, we went far, and the engineers of both companies agreed that that technology was good enough to do it. “But ultimately, the Ford management made a decision, and it fell apart. I really regret it, and I’m very sorry.”

Ford’s spokesman Said Deep says it wasn’t like that. Ford discovered through a feasibility study their hybrid technology was better suited for trucks and SUVs than Toyota’s hybrid technology. Deep went on to say they plan on having a hybrid truck on the market by 2020 and they have 150 patents related to its system and another 230 pending, according to

Why Hybrid?

No matter which side you believe was ultimately right or wrong, the hubbub over a hybrid truck is pretty significant. Frankly, even though Toyota fans clamor for a diesel truck, a hybrid Toyota is much, MUCH more likely. Why? Corporate Average Fuel Economy.

For better or worse (and sometimes it is MUCH worse), CAFE is a driving force in the automotive industry. Toyota and other automakers get this. In order to meet escalating fuel economy requirements, you really only have a few choices:

  1. Lightweight the truck (aluminum and high-strength steel)
  2. Add turbocharged engines
  3. Introduce a hybrid truck

The first option is the current trend. It seems like every new truck on the market is either getting an aluminum hood, tailgate or body panels. Also, high-strength steel is written, spoken and alluded to on some many new truck press releases and new produce reveals, you could play literally play buzzword bingo with that term. While light-weighting the truck sounds great, it is also expensive. Finding innovative ways to recycle the materials (see: Ford) or dropping features to pay for the high-strength steel (see: Toyota), seems to be the two courses. In my view, neither are complete solutions, just a part of it.

Secondly, turbocharged engines make a lot of sense for fuel economy. As I have written on this site several times about Toyota working on turbocharged engines.

The third option is a hybrid truck. Now, this makes even more sense IF (and it is a big IF), the hybrid truck can provide similar capability with better fuel economy and a nominal price increase. Getting these three factors right is a tough task and has been difficult to achieve (see: now dead Chevy Silverado hybrid).

However, if there is one company that I believe can get it right, it is Toyota. They have been working on hybrid technology for years and have a tons of consumer knowledge gained through their Prius lineup. In fact, this technology is so good, it is a no-brainer to opt for the hybrid over the gas version with most of their products. If you don’t believe me, go drive a Lexus ES300h.

In the end, we are still a few years out from a major announcement. While Ford may try to hit the 2020 mark, you have to know Toyota isn’t announcing anything until ALL the bugs have been worked out. This puts us around 5 years out.

What do you think? Does a hybrid make any sense?

Filed Under: Tundra News


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  1. Breathing borla says:

    hybrid = BARF

    I am a die hard large rumbling V8 guy though so I will hang onto that as long as anyone sells one

  2. DJ says:

    CAFE regulations are about to RUIN the automotive industry. Just more overreaching government interaction. All based on the lie of man-made global warming, amazing.

    I hear a ton of folks asking for diesel Tacoma and Tundra. I’ve heard approximately ZERO ask for a hybrid truck.

    • tonyspin says:

      Well, now you have heard of one. As an owner of a Prius, a Hybrid Camry, an a Tundra, I can tell you that a hybrid Tundra would be a welcome addition to my fleet. A plug-in hybrid would be even better. My experience with Toyota hybrid vehicles tells me that if Toyota builds a hybrid truck there will be no compromises. It will run, tow, and drive like a normal pick-up. It might even be more powerful than the regular pick-up. (My wife’s Hybrid Camry has about 10% more horsepower than a regular Camry) A hybrid truck will probably get about 30% better mileage than a normal truck. A plug-in hybrid truck will be even better. I can’t wait.

    • GoBig says:

      That darn government. Requiring things like seat belts, safety glass, and impact resistant doors. Now, requiring better average mileage? The nerve.

  3. DOA says:

    A couple years ago I came out of a coffee shop to watch a big chev go by in silence. WOW, now that is cool. Drive through, parking lots, work stops and red lights, there would be a big savings. To hunters and birdwatchers this would be a godsend.

    Bring it,

  4. Scott says:

    Wasn’t this collaborative effort “Dissolved” in 2013 . So we hear about the details two years later and are suppose to feel upset about it ? Hey Toyota you are selling a 55k Tundra with a 10yr old power plant and less bells and whistles then a bell and a whistle. What have you done in the 2 years since this has happened? I don’t think Toyota is upset, just constipated….

  5. Randy says:

    It really does not matter:

    If you are or were Ford customer?
    If you are Robert Kearns?
    If you are Toyota?

    You will be nailed to the wall. Kearns lost millions. No telling how much Toyota lost, but they should have known better. Ford will take a light switch, turn it upside down, claim it is new, get a patent on it, and then make their money. It has been that way for over a hundred years; it is a part of their DNA and is not going to change.

    Hopefully at this point Toyota will no longer play with Ford or GM? Ford and GM, ultimately over time, will actually have to invent something that actually works – all on their own; something they have not been able to do since the mid 50’s.

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