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Audi, VW and Porsche to Make Hybrid Engine

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FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) _ German automakers Volkswagen AG, Audi AG and Porsche AG said Monday they would work together to develop a new fuel-efficient hybrid engine for their automobiles.

Complete details of the new program weren't revealed, nor was a timeline, when the agreement was announced at the International Auto Show in Frankfurt.

Audi, a part of Wolfsburg-based VW, Europe's biggest automaker, said it would take the lead in the development of the new hybrid.

The move comes less than a week after BMW AG said it would join with General Motors Corp. and DaimlerChrysler AG to develop their own hybrid engine.

GM and DaimlerChrysler finalized their own hybrid partnership last month. Under that agreement, GM is the lead designer of hybrid engines for rear-wheel and all-wheel-drive, full-size trucks and sport utility vehicles, front-wheel-drive cars and crossover vehicles. DaimlerChrysler is the lead designer of hybrid engines for rear-wheel-drive luxury cars.

Hybrid engines have been touted as a way to make automobiles more fuel efficient and less-costly to run but current cars that sport them tend to cost between $4,000 to $9,000 more than counterparts with regular engines under the hood.

In a two-mode hybrid system, a vehicle can be powered either by two electric motors or by the combustion engine, or the systems can be used simultaneously.

Currently, Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. dominate the hybrid market. Ford Motor Co. also sells two SUVs that use hybrid technology.
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