“At the Nürburgring, there is always a car that passes me. It is a BMW.“ So said Toyota Chairman Akio Toyoda today as he announced a deepening of the relationships between Toyota, and the company that makes those cars that pass Toyoda on the Ring. The surprising part: BMW and Toyota will jointly “develop architecture and components for a future sports vehicle.”
If you can’t outrun them, join them: Toyoda believes that “BMW’s strength is developing sports cars,” and Toyota wants to share that strength. In return, BMW will get access to Toyota’s fuel cell system and electrification technologies. Both will share their expertise in light weight technology.
Ever since BMW and Toyota found together last year, I repeatedly hear that the atmosphere between both companies is very good. Both are engineering-driven and can be quite opinionated in what they do. Both are extremely competitive.
Or as Reithofer said:” Both companies possess a culture of “doing”, and taking action. Both companies have strong roots in their home countries. We know what heritage means.”
BMW can use the scale and worldwide reach Toyota delivers. Toyota will get free lessons in high end marketing from BMW. Reithofer said in his speech that “the premium character and independence of our BMW Group brands must be protected.” It can only benefit Lexus if Toyota learns by example how to set a brand totally free.
With all the common ground, there already are small differences in opinion. When it comes to cars, Toyoda narrowly defined the cooperation to “sports cars.”
Reithofer draws the cooperation wider. He expects to jointly develop “future vehicle architectures – for a sports car, for example.”
Toyota needs scale effects for lower volume sports cars. BMW needs scale effects across the whole range.