Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co. are to cooperate in developing environmentally friendly vehicles.
Toyota will supply state-of-the-art hybrid-system components to Nissan, while Nissan will likely supply technology used in, among others, its lithium ion battery.
The current agreement can grow into the alliance in which the two rivals will share information on fuel cell electric technology, which is expected to be a key feature of next-generation vehicles.
Under the deal, Toyota will supply Nissan with the technology used in the control system of its hybrid Prius model, which hit the market in 1997.
Nissan will use the information to develop its own hybrid vehicles, which will go on sale in the United States by 2006.Sales of the Prius, which costs 300,000 yen more than other cars in the same class, sank to just 11,000 cars in 2001-6,000 below their 1998 peak.
Nissan, meanwhile, has failed to mass market its own hybrid vehicle, although 80 percent of its cars have been remodeled to fall into the category of low-emission vehicles.