Ford Chief, Toyota Chairman Met to Discuss Partnership, Report Says

The chief executive of Ford Motor met with the chairman of Toyota Motor as the first step in potential partnership negotiations, the Japanese business daily Nihon Keizai Shimbun said.

The newspaper reported in its online edition that Ford CEO Alan Mulally and Toyota's Chairman Fujio Cho met last week. The meeting was also attended by Ford Executive Vice President Mark Fields, who is in charge of restructuring the automaker's loss-making North American operations, the newspaper said.

However, a spokesman for Ford told CNBC that he couldn't confirm any meeting between the executives.

"I can't confirm that any meeting took place," Ford spokesman Tom Hoyt said. "Our senior management meets with other leaders in the auto industry all the time. [I] can't comment specificially on this report out there today. It's not surprising that our senior management would meet with leaders from other auto companies."

"Ford and Toyota do not currently have any strategic alliances or partnerships," Hoyt said.

Nikkei cited unnamed sources familiar with the talks as saying that Ford was interested in Toyota's hybrid and fuel-cell technologies as well as its work in reducing manufacturing and parts procurement costs.

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