Ford, Toyota Partner on Hybrid Truck/SUV Programs

The news is out that two top auto makers are combining their powers to work together on hybrid trucks and SUVs. Various news venues are reporting that Ford and Toyota, two of the most powerful car companies in the world, will start collaborations to develop new hybrid systems that will also include web-based and telematic technologies.

Both of these companies have amazing track records: while Toyota has dominated the North American market for years, the Ford company has no parallel in American history. But to some observers, the matchup might still seem like a giant standing next to a flea, partly because of the way that the Toyota Prius reinvented the hybrid car over the last decade. However, Ford is catching up to Toyota in many key ways. First and foremost is the dramatic appeal of the Ford Focus hybrid and all-electric vehicles. Even though the American auto making community was late to the party in terms of hybrid design, Ford has gotten with the program quickly, unveiling some of today’s top hybrids for the North American market and embarking on a plan to scale down fuel costs for buyers further by offering smaller, leaner engines and even more new technologies for the road.

 Reports are suggesting that the two companies are initiating this joint program partially under pressure to increase miles per gallon for larger vehicles as part of government regulations on fuel efficiency for future years. However, Ford executives also cited cost of ownership in interviews with ABC affiliate WXYZ Aug. 22 over these new hybrid projects.

It’s true that developing less fuel-hungry large vehicles will decrease the costs for drivers at the pump, but smart buying is also important, especially for a larger vehicle like a truck or SUV. Costs are already high for purchasing one of these vehicles on the lot, and with extra features and expensive financing programs, dealers can charge a lot more for trucks and SUVs than what they are actually worth. When you go to shop for one of these larger vehicles in the future, read up on model pricing and financing offers, and shop around for the best deals, instead of letting upsells and bloating financing costs eat up more of your budget over the term of your auto loan.