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Toyota and Isuzu looking at diesel

Specific plans with Isuzu on diesel engine tech collaboration to be announced soon.

Toyota plans to announce specifics next month regarding collaboration with Isuzu on diesel engines.

Toyota has been in discussions with Isuzu, a company known for its expertise in diesel engine technology, since November, said Tina Ewald, assistant manager for media and investor relations at Toyota Motor North America.

Earlier Friday the Nikkei, Japan's leading business daily, reported that Isuzu has invested in a plant in Hokkaido, Japan for the purpose of supplying Toyota with 200,000 low-emission diesel engines per year. The report said the plant will be operational by 2012.

Toyota would not confirm or deny the report.

"We are still discussing the concrete form of collaboration, still considering different areas, and will probably make an announcement sometime in July," said Ewald.

Areas of collaboration on the table with Isuzu include field research and development of small diesel engines, emission control technologies, and devices for diesel engines and "other technologies related to alternative fuels," according to Ewald.

Toyota did not reveal any specifics on projects, or if the company has a hybrid diesel engine car in mind for development.

Toyota purchased a 5.9 percent stake in Isuzu last November. At that time, Toyota issued a statement that the two companies planned to "utilize their management resources in the fields of research and development and production, and to supplement each other's technological development."

The news follows this week's announcement that Toyota has developed a valve system to make gas engines 5 percent to 10 percent more fuel efficient and reduce emissions. Toyota plans to implement the technology in all of its gas engines by 2010.