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Too much credit for Ford hybrid goes to Toyota; race just begun
By Daniel Howes / The Detroit News
Sometimes the smartest thing a company can do to burnish its image at the expense of the competition is to do the slow walk on correcting misconceptions.

Case in point: Toyota Motor Co.p. and Ford Motor Co.’s new Escape Hybrid SUV. Last March, the companies said they had concluded “licensing agreements for hybrid systems and emissions purification patents” — lawyerly language that soon gave way to talk that the first hybrid SUV from an American automaker was actually powered by Toyota.

Even if it wasn’t.

Months passed, and Ford execs seethed at the misperception. On June 22, Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. issued a news release headlined, “Hybrid Hype? Fact and Fiction surrounding the new technology.” Deep in the corporate Q&A is this nugget:

“Is Ford using the Toyota hybrid system?”

Answer: “Although the Ford system is very similar to Toyota’s, Toyota is not directly supplying any components to Ford. Toyota and Ford have entered into a licensing agreement allowing Ford to use technology that had been patented by Toyota.”

Two days later, a Toyota spokeswoman, Cindy Knight, told a California newspaper: “It is really not accurate to say that Ford obtained the technology from Toyota. So far, Nissan is the only other company that has planned to get its hybrid system — or parts of it — directly from Toyota.”

So why wait so long to clear this up? Why deflect questions with lame responses that Toyota people in Japan drafted the March announcement, not the Toyota people in California? Why allow environmentalists, even Toyota dealers like my father-in-law’s in suburban Washington, to perpetuate the fiction that the Escape Hybrid is a Toyota under the skin?

Because the confusion strengthens Toyota’s carefully crafted green marketing message. And it buttresses the image of Detroit’s Big Three-are-environmental-morons, a rap that GM, Ford and Chrysler partly fuel by their slow response to the budding hybrid movement and their devotion to big trucks and SUVs.

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Wow I had never heard that people thought Ford was taking Toyota parts. I can imagine why that would really tick them off.
 

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And the funny thing is, at the end of the day, virtually no money is even changing hands between Ford and Toyota, because Ford is also licensing some of its own diesel related patents to Toytoa. Arrangements like this are fairly common when you talk about patents being given not for a particular design, but for a larger method or concept. No parts are shared between the Escape and Toyota hybrids.
 

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The biggest irony in Toyota's green reputation is that they sell the dirtiest gasoline vehicles available; namely federal emission trucks and SUVs with the 4.7L i-force V8.
 

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who really cares? it's a global economy these days anyway. parts for everyone's cars come from around the globe, and nobody really knows who built their car, or where the parts came from. the fact is that the cars on the road today are the best that have ever been built by their respective manufacturers, and keep getting better. even if Ford was getting their power from Toyota for the hybrid Escape, the fact is that they're the first to have a hybrid SUV for sale. who cares where the hybrid system comes from?
 

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Originally posted by Smaart Aas Saabr@Jul 18 2004, 07:33 AM
And you know what? It may even be beneficial to Ford for people to think there's a little bit of Toyota in there. ;)
And you know what else? It may even be beneficial to Toyota for people to think there's a little bit of Ford in toyota's diesils. ;)
 

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Originally posted by SUPERBADD75@Jul 19 2004, 10:19 AM
who really cares? it's a global economy these days anyway.  who cares where the hybrid system comes from?
Having 90% of engineering jobs of worth centered in Tokyo can't be good for American engineering college grads who can't speak Japanese. :p
 

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Having 90% of engineering jobs of worth centered in Tokyo can't be good for American engineering college grads who can't speak Japanese.


perhaps there are a few ways this could go a different route then...

1.) they could learn to speak Japanese. probably not a bad idea anyway considering how many new cars are joint ventures....

2.) American auto manufacturers could catch up to the competition, and offer some really new techno-goodies.

3.) they could find work at one of the MANY new design/tech centers that the Japanese companies now have here in the U.S.


just a thought.
 

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Originally posted by xellow+Jul 19 2004, 08:52 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (xellow @ Jul 19 2004, 08:52 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-Smaart Aas Saabr@Jul 18 2004, 07:33 AM
And you know what? It may even be beneficial to Ford for people to think there's a little bit of Toyota in there. ;)
And you know what else? It may even be beneficial to Toyota for people to think there's a little bit of Ford in toyota's diesils. ;) [/b][/quote]
Good thing Ford doesnt make their own diesels, Navistar does. :D
 

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Good thing Ford doesnt make their own diesels, Navistar does.
Ford doesn't make the Powerstroke, but i'm pretty sure that they DO make their diesels for other markets. (europe, oz, etc.)
 

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1. The Japanese do a lot of design work outside of Japan. It's good practice to design products in their intended markets. The Big Three do the same (e.g. they aren't designing Opels and Deawoos in Detroit).

2. Ford partners with International for their North American truck turbodiesels, and PSA for their European diesels. Not sure to what extent the new PAG v6/v8 diesels borrow from the shared PSA design...
 

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Originally posted by SUPERBADD75@Jul 19 2004, 11:32 PM
Good thing Ford doesnt make their own diesels, Navistar does.
Ford doesn't make the Powerstroke, but i'm pretty sure that they DO make their diesels for other markets. (europe, oz, etc.)
You're right...Ford does make diesels in other markets. But they primarily source these engines from other suppliers (International) or joint-ventures (PSA/Peugeot-Citroen). American market diesels have all been out-sourced from Mazda, International, or BMW, but some in Europe have been built in-house.
 

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AFAIK Mazda is out of the diesel business, having switched to Ford for their consumer diesels (primarily in Europe) and Isuzu for their commercial diesels (in Japan). Volvo still builds their own diesels tho', and there's also the ancient diesels in the Defender.

The only BMW-sourced diesel is in the Range Rover, and that's being swapped out next year in favour of the PAG units (along with the BMW v8 petrol).

The corporate strategy seems to be to catch up technology wise by getting all they can out of the PSA joint venture (PSA builds the best diesels there are), develop their own designs for Europe (which is starting to happen), and then use that technology to start making their own large diesels in North America (see: Ford's apparent plan to design and build the F-150 v6 turbodiesel themselves, after cancelation of the program with International).
 
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