BMW and Toyota to develop lightweight mid-size sports car together

Two of the world’s most well-known automotive brands are deepening their collaboration by signing binding agreements. BMW Group and Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) have today signed a binding agreement that will see them co-developing a mid-size sports car that is likely to feature fuel-cell and hybrid technologies, in combination with cutting edge lightweight materials such as reinforced composites.

This comes after BMW Group and TMC first signed a contract under which the former will supply highly efficient diesel engines to Toyota Motor Europe.

Speaking from Toyota’s home city of Nagoya, Japan, where the heads of both companies put pen to paper, Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG said:

“TMC and the BMW Group share the same strategic vision of future sustainable mobility. In light of the technological changes ahead, the entire automotive industry faces tremendous challenges, which we also regard as an opportunity. This collaboration is an important building block in keeping both companies on a successful course in the future.”

With the two automotive giants pooling their expertise and resources together, the plan mid-size sports car is bound to threaten many rivals.

In a joint statement released after the signing ceremony: “The companies agreed to set-up a feasibility study to define a joint platform concept for a mid-size sports vehicle that is to be completed by the end of 2013. The two companies aim to combine each other’s technology and knowledge at a high level to maximise customer satisfaction. Both companies are to share the vision to further collaborate in the field of sports vehicle development.”

The tie up illustrates that car manufacturers are increasingly dependent on each other moving forward, to reduce development and manufacturing costs. It will be interesting to see how such collaborations pen out.

Similar arrangements exist between Mercedes-Benz and Renault-Nissan and General Motors and PSA Peugeot Citroen.

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