Blog: Dave LeggettFord and Toyota

Dave Leggett | 29 December 2006

The time between Christmas and New Year is pretty dead for news (hence our offices are shut down), but Ford and Toyota have apparently been discussing collaboration. Most likely any collaboration would be confined to the fuel/hybrid technology area. I'm not sure that either party really needs the other's know-how here, but that's probably not important.

It plays well politically for both.

As Toyota usurps Ford as global number two, gaining ground on GM for top spot next year also, it is highly sensitive to perceptions in the US. Japanese political and business leaders know how important the US market is to them and don't want to hear of any kind of anti-Japanese movement or political bandwagon developing in the US ('the Japanese don't play fair, the yen is undervalued, companies get government support' etc.). It keeps them up at night. This can be taken as evidence that they are soft and cuddly and don't want to actually drive Detroit out of business (hmmm).

Toyota-Ford follows similar Toyota-GM top-level discussions in the past.

And restructuring Ford gets a boost from any talk of association with stellar performer Toyota, however vague; if nothing else, the news is a boost to Ford's management and evidence that Mulally and Co. are actually active.

And the shareholders are happy. I'm sure both sets of management are satisfied with the media coverage and the spin they can put on it. But don't expect a grand alliance to be announced imminently or even anything particularly solid to come out of this.

International Herald Tribune


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