BMW and Toyota will jointly develop a sports car, extend technology ties
MUNICH -- BMW and Toyota Motor Corp. today said they will develop a sports car together and cooperate in fuel cell technology, powertrain electrification and lightweight technologies.
BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer and Toyota President Akio Toyoda signed an agreement at BMW's Munich headquarters to expand long-term strategic collaboration between the two automakers.
In March, BMW and Toyota agreed to collaborate with BMW on lithium-ion battery research in exchange for a steady supply of BMW-made diesel engines starting in 2014.
The expanded deal signifies a second major transatlantic pact of a German premium carmaker after Mercedes parent Daimler agreed a partnership with Renault-Nissan. The tie-up could also serve to help ward off German rival Audi, which enjoys bigger economies of scale thanks to its parent Volkswagen AG.
"Toyota and the BMW Group share the same strategic vision of sustainable individual future mobility. Together we have a great opportunity to continue leading our industry through this transformation," Reithofer said in a statement.
Toyoda said in the same statement: "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."
The companies today said they signed an agreement that allows joint development of a fuel-cell system, joint development of architecture and components for a future sports vehicle, collaboration on powertrain electrification and joint research and development on lightweight technologies.
Toyota is strong in powertrains for electric and hybrid cars while BMW can help Toyota reduce the weight of its cars, making them more fuel efficient. BMW has taken a leading role in carbon fiber, a lightweight, superstrong yet expensive material that so far is mainly in high-end sports cars.
Toyota will also benefit from BMW's sports-car expertise, an area where the Japanese company has struggled.
BMW and Toyota emphasized that there was no intention of building stakes in each other's businesses. "We are not coming together to become bigger. We are not coming together to form capital ties," Toyoda told reporters.
GM, PSA partnerships
The agreement means BMW will cease further efforts to cooperate with General Motors on fuel cells and with PSA/Peugeot-Citroen on hybrid powertrains.
A BMW spokesman said that there will be no more talks with GM. He said discussions are underway with PSA, which is allied with GM, on dissolving a joint venture on components for hybrid cars.
Reithofer said BMW and PSA would continue to honor an existing project-based partnership to build small four-cylinder gasoline engines for BMW's Mini brand and Peugeot and Citroen smaller models.
Reuters contributed to this report.
PRESS RELEASE: BMW Group and Toyota Motor Corporation agree to further strengthen collaboration
Tokyo/Munich . Akio Toyoda, President of Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC), met today with Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, at BMW Group headquarters in Munich to announce the planned expansion of their existing cooperation initiated in December last year. The two companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at long-term strategic collaboration in four fields: joint development of a fuel cell system, joint development of architecture and components for a future sports vehicle, collaboration on powertrain electrification and joint research and development on lightweight technologies.
Also today, Norbert Reithofer and Akio Toyoda of TMC both signed a Joint Statement to reconfirm their companies' shared intention to strengthen the long-term, strategic collaboration between them.
Reithofer said: "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. Together we have a great opportunity to continue leading our industry through this transformation."
Toyoda added: "BMW and Toyota both want to make ever-better cars. We respect each other. And I think this is shown by our taking the next step only six months since the signing of our initial agreement. 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."
In March 2012, the BMW Group and TMC signed a binding agreement on collaborative research in the field of next-generation lithium-ion battery cells. In addition, the BMW Group and Toyota Motor Europe entered into a contract under which the BMW Group will supply highly-efficient 1.6 litre and 2.0 litre diesel engines to Toyota Motor Europe, starting in 2014.
Today's MoU represents the companies' agreement in December last year to identify and discuss other possible collaborative projects.
CLICK HERE for the press release.
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