UPDATE 1-Ford to develop hybrid trucks solo after Toyota tie-up ends

Tue Jul 23, 2013 11:53pm IST

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By Deepa Seetharaman

DETROIT, July 23 (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co and Toyota Motor Corp ended their partnership to develop hybrid pickup trucks and sport-utility vehicles after studying the feasibility of such a project for nearly two years, Ford said on Tuesday.

Ford, maker of the top-selling F-150 pickup truck, will develop its own rear-wheel drive hybrid system for trucks and SUVs, which will be available by the end of the decade.

"Both parties brought some significant insight to their portion of the project," said Raj Nair, head of global product development in an interview. He said both companies were "pleased with the ability to progress separately."

The two automakers will continue to develop "next-generation" standards for on-board phone, navigation and entertainment systems, the U.S. automaker said in a release.

Ford and Toyota announced their tie-up in August 2011, saying the development of larger hybrid vehicles would help each automaker meet future U.S. fuel economy standards.

Toyota has dominated the global hybrid market since it introduced the Prius sedan in 1997. The Japanese automaker accounted for about two-thirds of the U.S. hybrid market in the first half of 2013.

But Ford has made inroads in the U.S. hybrid market this year on the strength of demand for the Fusion and C-Max hybrids in California and other markets. Ford made up 15 percent of the U.S. hybrid market during the first six months of 2013, up from 3 percent during the same time last year.

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