2009 Mazda Tribute Hybrid - Click above for high-res image gallery

According to the Yomiuri Shimbun daily newspaper, Mazda has reached an agreement with Toyota that will strengthen its ability to produce fuel efficient automobiles. Under the deal, Toyota will reportedly supply Mazda with hybrid components, including electric motors and control systems, for a vehicle Mazda plans to sell in 2013. Further, Toyota partner Panasonic will provide batteries for the vehicle, which is expected to sell in the tens of thousands of units a year.

As a much smaller automaker than many of its rivals, Mazda reportedly has just one-eighth of the research and development budget of Toyota. To help minimize that disadvantage, Mazda has long relied on Ford for technology, including hybrid drivetrains as used in the Japanese automaker's Tribute Hybrid SUV, which is based on the Ford Escape.

Lately, though, it seems Ford and Mazda are collaborating less on future automobile development, and Mazda announced plans to raise up to $1.1 billion for environmentally-friendly technology by issuing 315.2 million new shares and selling 96.8 million treasury shares.

[Source: Yomiuri Shimbun]

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