Ford Toyota Joint Venture: The Benefits of CEO Travel
that led then Ford CEO, Donald Petersen, to bring quality/management expert Dr. W. Edwards Deming into Ford to teach them what the Japanese automobile ...
There's nothing like an unexpected meeting in an airport terminal and a quick exchange of business cards to change an industry.
Evidently, that's what happened when Ford's CEO, Alan Mulally, had a chance meeting with Toyota CEO, Akio Toyoda, in an unspecified airport as they were both on their way someplace else.
The outcome is a Memorandum of Understanding for the first joint venture the companies have ever pursued with each other. And it's on two fronts.
If the deal goes through (which will happen in 2012), the companies will co-develop a hybrid system for larger, rear-wheel drive vehicles. Like trucks and SUVs.
This is a good thing for both companies as the Obama Administration has upped the fuel efficiency requirements - and that had both companies trying to figure out how to solve the problem by the 2017 model year deadline. It's also expected to substantially reduce the purchase price of the vehicles.
It's also a nice fit for the companies as they both have successful track records with their existing hybrids - Ford with the Fusion and Toyota with the Prius.
On a secondary front, they've also agreed to collaborate on the development of industry-wide standards for the so-called "telematics" - the systems that enable drivers to track emails, make phone calls and participate in social networks while driving. According to initial reports, these are expected to be cloud-based services.
While this is the first actual venture between the two companies, in many ways this 'partnership' was years in the making. After all, it was a result of the 1980 NBC Whitepaper entitled, "If Japan Can, Why Can't We?" that led then Ford CEO, Donald Petersen, to bring quality/management expert Dr. W. Edwards Deming into Ford to teach them what the Japanese automobile makers - most notably Toyota - had learned from him years before.