BMW and Toyota to Collaborate in Developing a Sports Car
BMW and Toyota announced that they will jointly develop a sports car along with collaborating on environmental technologies including fuel cells, vehicle electrification and lightweight materials. The heads of both automakers signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at the long-term strategic collaboration in these four fields. The meeting was held at BMW’s headquarters at Munich, Germany. “Toyota is strong in environment-friendly hybrids and fuel cells. On the other hand, I believe BMW’s strength is in developing sports cars. I am excited to think of the cars that will result from this relationship,” Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda said.
BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer added, “We aim to further strengthen our competitive position in sustainable future technologies. We signed an MoU to this effect today. Toyota and the BMW Group share the same strategic vision of sustainable individual future mobility.” The joint venture builds on previous deals that include a binding agreement on collaborative research in the field of next-generation lithium-ion battery cells. Also a contract was signed where BMW will supply diesel engines for the use in Toyota vehicles from 2014 onwards in Europe. The teaming up of the two automakers on the development of fuel cell technology reveals that the previous alliance of BMW with General Motors in the same area is over.
Details on the jointly developed future sports car were not revealed. The plans of both automakers remain unclear. It has been revealed that Toyota is keen to launch a successor to the Supra sports car but with a mid-engine layout, hybrid drivetrain and all-wheel drive configuration. On the other hand, BMW has been considering a new entry-level sports car, which is expected to be called Z2. It hasn’t been revealed if both automakers will launch a new sports car like Toyota did with Subaru and their respective GT86/FR-S and BRZ sports car, or if only one company will. The two companies insist that they will remain independent but will continue to explore areas of collaboration.