Ford and Toyota have teamed up for the first time to develop a new hybrid system for light trucks and SUVs to "benefit society" and increase fuel-efficiency, says Toyota. Reuters

Ford and Toyota have teamed up for the first time to develop a new hybrid system for light trucks and SUVs to benefit society and increase fuel-efficiency, says Toyota.

Ford Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. announced plans to collaborate to accelerate consumer availability of a new advanced hybrid system, according to a press release.

Ford and Toyota have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU), with a formal agreement to come in 2012, to collaborate on advanced hybrid product development along with improved telematics and Internet-based services. This collaboration will be their first.

This agreement brings together the capability of two global leaders in hybrid vehicles and hybrid technology to develop a better solution more quickly and affordably for our customers, said Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development.

The two companies, known as the world's leading manufacturers of hybrid vehicles, have been working separately to develop hybrid systems. Toyota created the Prius, which first launched in 1997 as the world's first gasoline-electric hybrid and shortly thereafter, Ford released the Fusion Hybrid in 2009.

However, the pair has decided that their collaboration could bring new hybrid capabilities to the public faster and cheaply if they work as a team in the development process.

We expect to create exciting technologies that benefit society with Ford -- and we can do so through the experience the two companies have in hybrid technology, said Toyota Executive Vice President Takeshi Uchiyamada.

With the aim for higher fuel economy as federal fuel economy rules become a reality, both Toyota and Ford will endeavor to increase fuel economy standards without compromising capability in rear-wheel-drive hybrid vehicles.

By working together, we will be able to serve our customers with the very best affordable, advanced powertrains, delivering even better fuel economy, said Ford President/CEO Alan Mulally. This is the kind of collaborative effort that is required to address the big global challenges of energy independence and environmental sustainability.

While both companies will continue to develop telematics platforms separately, they will combine efforts standardize telematics in cars, as a part of the agreement to increase computer presence in automobiles.

Not only is this tie-up clearly one aimed at making automobiles ever better, it should also become an important building block for future mobility, said Toyota President Akio Toyoda.