CEO Alan Mulally and US Boss Mark Fields flew to Tokyo
to meet with some top people from Toyota
. The industry rumor
mill immediately spun with speculation about a possible tie-up between the two companies. Ford, however, said the meeting was just so that Mulally could get to know
his new peers and learn more about Toyota's manufacturing and development processes. Toyota reported that no alliance was discussed during the December meeting between Mulally, Fields and chairman Fujio Cho.
Today Toyota President Katsuaki Watanabe has told the Nikkei business daily that the Japanese company is open to some kind of tie-up with Ford if the Dearborn based company was up for it. According to Watanabe the most likely path would be some sort of technology sharing deal although nothing has even been proposed yet. Toyota executives regularly meet with representatives from other companies, and will consider partnerships but there are no guarantees.