It’s not uncommon for automakers to collaborate. Toyota and Nissan did to produce the Altima Hybrid. Nissan borrowed the Toyota’s Synergy Drive Technology that’s found on the Toyota Camry Hybrid through a licensing agreement.
It looks like Toyota and Subaru will do something similar. The Toyota Highlander and the Subaru Tribeca will share the same platform. “According to Motor Trend, the two companies are currently exploring ways to integrate platforms, and the fruit of that exploration may very well be the next Tribeca,” Autoblog explains. “MT is reporting that engineers are currently looking for ways to base the next-generation Subaru crossover on the bones of the Toyota Highlander. Both models are slated for replacement in 2014, and there's some indication that the two vehicles will share more than a few bolts when they debut.”
Converging products is more complicated than sharing a licensing agreement. Motor Trend explains that the platform must fit three different models. “As always with Subaru, the sticking point is how to share a platform that would use a longitudinally mounted boxer engine, in the case of the Tribeca, with a transverse-mounted engine, as in the Highlander. The platform also will have to accommodate a hybrid version of the Highlander, and it's a good bet the system would be adapted to the pancake-engine Tribeca.”
This change, however, won’t occur overnight. “The all-new Highlander isn’t expected until 2014,” says Left Lane News, “so both CUVs will have to carry on in their current forms for a few more years.” We’ll keep you posted as more updates emerge.