Daimler may have inked an extensive partnership with Nissan to develop future product and technologies, but it seems the German automaker may be reaching out to another Japanese firm — Toyota — for hybrid powertrain.
According to Japanese industry paper Nikkan Jidosha, the company is in talks with Toyota about licensing hybrid designs for use in a forthcoming A-Class hybrid model. Such a small hybrid isn’t too surprising, seeing as the BlueZero E-Cell Plus concept, shown in 2009, previewed a plug-in hybrid built off Mercedes-Benz’s compact architecture, which is used in both the A-Class and B-Class models.
Turning to Toyota, however, is a little out of the ordinary, but it isn’t the only company to do so. Nissan, which recently expanded its partnership with Daimler to include electric vehicle technologies, licenses the hybrid drive system used in the Altima Hybrid from Toyota. Mazda also recently inked a deal the automaker to license the so-called Hybrid Synergy Drive system for future vehicles.
That said, Daimler may simply be approaching Toyota much like Ford did. Ford’s drive system, which launched in the 2004 Escape Hybrid, was developed without Toyota’s assistance, but the automaker reportedly sought a licensing agreement with the firm to avoid conflict after noting similarities in several areas.
Daimler could be approaching Toyota either to use its system outright, or simply as legal procedure — but neither party is revealing much — if anything — on the matter. A Toyota spokesperson told Reuters that the company is “open to sharing hybrid technology to reduce costs through economies of scale,” but wouldn’t comment on negotiations with other firms.