Japan's Toyota Motor will join hands with salesforce.com Inc to build a private social networking for customers for Toyota cars.

The carmaker would work with salesforce.com to create the Toyota Friend service for owners of electric cars and plug-in hybrid vehicles to be introduced next year, it said in a statement.

Toyota will invest 442 million yen ($5.4 million) and salesforce.com will spend 223 million yen on Toyota Media Service Co., a Toyota subsidiary that provides data services to drivers, the carmaker said.

Toyota Friend will function largely on cell phones via a dedicated app, and notifications will work similar to Twitter.

This is a joint pursuit to move the automobile industry forward, said Salesforce.com's vice president of product marketing, Kraig Swensrud. Toyota Friend will be introduced to Japan in early 2012 and worldwide at a later date.

 Toyota describes the service as a private social network that connects Toyota customers with their cars, their dealership, and with Toyota.