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Toyota's Watanabe will talk to Ford

Posted by: Ian Rowley on January 16, 2007

Reports that Ford CEO Alan Mulally and Toyota chairman Fujio Cho met in late December led to a raft of headlines over a possible Toyota-Ford tie-up. However, after both sides and analysts played down the meeting, the talks’ significance seemed to fade.

An interview with Toyota CEO Katsuaki Watanabe in today’s Nihon Keizai, Japan’s leading business daily, could have a similar impact. Watanabe reiterated that Toyota was happy to talk with Ford on possible technology tie-ups, but didn’t exactly sound enthusiastic. Asked if Toyota plans to build on the two firms current hybrid relationships—Toyota provides components for gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles to Ford through group firms, such as Aisin Seiki—Watanabe said any new tie-ups would likely center on technological development, but said that Toyota hasn’t received specific requests and that the parties haven’t started talks.

Watanabe was equally lukewarm when asked about extending the two firms’ relationship to other areas beyond environmental technologies. While ruling nothing out, he said it “would depend on the substance of the proposal” and that the possibility “is not zero.” Not exactly a ringing endorsement. Of course, Watanabe may just be keeping his cards close to his chest. Yet, for the time being at least, it looks like speculation of a deeper Toyota-Ford alliance will remain exactly that.

Reader Comments

robert perothers

July 11, 2008 10:05 PM

i am a ford owner, you need something exciteing like a sharp sports car.
you lack in design and gas mileage.
mustang is not what the young people
want it there fathers and
nessian have the design and gas mileage.
reinvent the FALCON MAKE IT HOT.
what have you been thinking for the
past 20 years? DESIGN MILEAGE

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