In spy movies, information is used as a form of currency; it's traded for hostages, treasure, and occasionally, more information.
But the practice isn't just limited to films. It takes place in the business world, too, and the auto industry is no exception.
According to AutoNews, Ford and Daimler have struck just such an arrangement. As per the terms of the deal, Ford will tell Daimler all about its three-cylinder engines, like the turbocharged 1.0-liter EcoBoost found inside the 2014 Ford Fiesta. Daimler will use that data to refine a three-cylinder powerplant that it's creating for its own Smart fortwo and for the Renault Twingo.
And what does Ford get out of the deal? Details about the stratified, lean-burn engines found in certain Mercedes-Benz vehicles, like the E-class sedan.
This is a very interesting development. Driven by changes in consumer expectations and government regulations, automakers are stepping up efforts to make gasoline engines more efficient. Even performance-minded BMW has gotten onboard.
On the other hand, this new technology brings new quirks, which will need to be sorted out before the engines achieve their full potential. Hopefully, this kind of information-sharing will speed that process along.