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JAPAN: Toyota reportedly talking hybrid with Daimler

By just-auto.com editorial team | 16 September 2010

Toyota Motor is reported to be in talking with Daimler about supplying parts and technology for hybrid vehicles.

The Nikkan Jidosha and Nikkei newspapers and Reuters said Daimler approached Toyota about using the hybrid system for an A Class model in 2013 or later.

A magazine report earlier this week said the redesigned A-class due in 2012 would have a new platform but the 'sandwich' structure of the current model, already used for a low-volume, mainland Europe-only, electric version, would be retained for future 'alternative fuel' models.

A supply deal between Toyota and Daimler would come as a surprise since the latter has been working with rival BMW on hybrid development, Reuters noted.

Daimler also has a wide-ranging partnership with Renault and Nissan Motor which could eventually be extended to hybrid, fuel-cell and other next-generation vehicles.

Toyota has said it was open to sharing its hybrid technology with others to reduce production costs through economies of scale while spokesman Keisuke Kirimoto said the company could not comment on negotiations with other firms.

A Daimler spokeswoman also declined to comment, but added that general discussions in the industry were "quite normal". A separate source said Toyota was among the companies that Daimler was in discussions with on various vehicle technologies.

Toyota has supplied hybrid technology to Nissan for the North American made and sold Altima and most recently signed an agreement to supply core hybrid parts to Mazda Motor despite the latter's equity ties with Ford, which is among the few automakers today with a proprietary hybrid system.

Daimler's S class line includes a model using 'mild' hybrid technology developed jointly with BMW.