We've learned a few more salient details on what was initially only an alleged, but now is a confirmed meeting between ToMoCo chairman Fujio Cho and FoMoCo CEO Alan Mulally (his ever-present sidekick and president of NorAm, Mark Fields bowing by his side) last week in Japan. That's right, Mulally and Fields spent 24 hours together in the air on the round-trip cross-continental flight. I wonder what they talked about? Hair care tips, perhaps?
According to the business daily Nihon Keizai Shimbun, the meeting, which we'd already learned earlier took place at the request of Mulally, centered on a desire by the former Boeing exec to talk of potential partnerships between the two companies on things like NorAm manufacturing and cost reductions. Ah, so that's why Fields was in attendance. We thought maybe Mulally was trying to see if Cho would like to trade the NorAm Prez for one of those new FT-HS hybrid sports cars.
Of course, that may not be too far from the truth — because according to the New York Times...
...other Japanese press reports are saying the meeting focused on "discussions of development of hybrid-electric and hydrogen powered cars and ways that Toyota could help Ford improve its manufacturing efficiency." And that goes beyond the licensing ToMoCo's already providing Ford for the design of the hybrid system in the Escape SUV.
So what does all this mean? We've no idea — but what we do know is Mulally's going to the new up-and-coming big dog who's got the bite he's always admired, and he's asking for some help. Bold move, yes — but is it a smart one? Again — no idea.
Ford and Toyota Chiefs Met in Tokyo [NYT]