Ford and Toyota vying for innovative reputations

As Bill Ford continues to promote innovation as the key to recovery for "America's car company," here's an interesting look at another automaker automaker touting its leading edge engineering.

San Francisco Chronicle writer Robert Collier takes a look at the evolution of Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive technology, and its hybrid flagship, the Prius. For anyone interested in how corporate culture and long-term strategy influence product development, it's a classic case study.

It's also an interesting example of the "halo effect," where Toyota's niche-market hybrid halo car, the Prius, has created a green image for the company that overshadows less environmentally-aware mainstream vehicles like its new, bigger Tundra pickup.

[Source: San Francisco Chronicle]

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