Mazda has struck a deal with Toyota to license the hybrid technology used in the Toyota Prius. Mazda plans to incorporate the technology into the SKY1 engines it is currently developing with the aim of having a hybrid vehicle on the road in Japan by 2013.

Mazda says its overall goal is to increase the average fuel economy of its vehicles by 30 percent by 2015, compared to its 2008 levels. The plan will start with improved engine technology, transmissions and weight reduction and electric systems including hybrid drivetrains, idling stop and regenerative braking will follow.

Toyota put itself at the forefront of hybrid technology among the big players with the 1997 release of the Prius. As well as the new Mazda deal, it has announced that it "will consider requests from other companies to supply hybrid technology."