The Asahi Shimbun reports that Toyota Motor and General Motors plan to end their joint research on fuel-cell vehicle development at the end of March because of a lack of progress.
The two companies are expected to agree to extend their alliance on advanced technologies in other areas such as safety and information until March 2008, according to the report, which suggests that the agreement will emerge in early march at the earliest.
The two automakers agreed in 1999 to cooperate on fuel-cell research, in part to take the lead in fuel-cell vehicle technology and exchange information on technical requirements and build-up of infrastructure. Toyota officials said that close ties between the two companies will remain unchanged because they will continue to exchange information on the remaining issues such as safety and intelligent transportation systems.
The officials also said the two companies will expand environment-related research if they find suitable areas, according to the paper.
Toyota and GM apparently concluded that it is not necessary to include fuel-cell vehicle development in the extended accord also because commercial production of fuel-cell vehicles is not expected for about 10 more years.