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They'll pursue lower emissions and more automation

Japanese truck maker Hino Motors Ltd and Volkswagen Truck & Bus GmbH said on Thursday they have agreed to form a strategic tie-up to better compete in the commercial vehicle industry, which is undergoing transformation due to the need for lower-emission vehicles and automated driving capabilities.

Hino Motors, a company that produces everything from medium- and heavy-duty trucks, to buses and even Toyota-badged vehicles like the Land Cruiser Prado SUV, FJ Cruiser, Dyna trucks and the Toyoace commercial products, is developing a hybrid system for its light-duty lineup of trucks. The setup will be field tested in Japan to assess real-world reductions in fuel consumption prior to its planned commercial launch in 2011.

Toyota Motor Corporation has teamed up with Hino Motors Ltd. and Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K. to test out a biodiesel formulation on the Hino Blue Ribbon City Hybrid buses in Japan. The diesel-electric hybrid transit buses will be powered by a Shell-formulated gas-to-liquid (GTL) Fischer-Tropsch diesel fuel. The GTL is then combined with renewable hydrogenated vegetable oil (HVO), forming a biodiesel product that's suitable for use in the Hino hybrid buses.

Last week, we told you that Isuzu and Toyota had announced that they were collaborating on a new small diesel engine. This week, they say that they are expanding that collaboration to also include new clean diesel exhaust technology. This agreement is between Hino Motors, Toyota's truck division, and Isuzu.