By on July 1, 2009

You know this one is going to be good. Auto Motor und Sport says the two giants are having a little klatsch about platform and technology sharing, with typically crazy rumors flying out of the discussion. Mercedes hasn’t planned its next-generation A- and  B-classes yet, and Toyota is looking to rationalize its European production capacity. Could the Merc A/B end up sharing parts, platform or even production with future Toyota models? It sure looks like the possibility is on the table. But that’s not the weirdest rumor. There’s even talk of sharing costs between future generations of the Mercedes S-Class and Lexus LS. Plus Toyota is reportedly interested in Mercedes’ battery technology. Or is that Tesla‘s? As tempting as it is to simply dismiss this all out of hand as just another wild-ass rumor, the Aston Cygnet proves that Toyota is more willing to enter into ridiculous deals than you might imagine.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

25 Comments on “Daimler and Toyota in Talks...”


  • avatar
    Daniel J. Stern

    Toyota would do well to look at the crapmess Daimler made of Chrysler (in quick, efficient German fashion) before they decide to stick their hand down that particular garbage disposal.

  • avatar

    Too bad…

    now Lexus’ reliability is going to drop.

  • avatar
    CommanderFish

    The fact that any car company would be willing to partner up with Daimler after looking at what happened to Chrysler is very surprising to me.

  • avatar
    derm81

    I wonder if this is all tied into Daimler putting a research lab in Ann Arbor, which they announced a few months ago? It’s in close proximity to Toyota’s technical campus.

  • avatar
    charly

    I don’t think a Toyota/Daimler merger would happen and if it happened thaan it wouldn’t be a takeover like Chrysler

  • avatar
    tom

    1) I can’t stand all this “look what Daimler did to Chrysler” theme. Chrysler was fcuked long before they started talking to Daimler.
    2) There will be no merger/takeover between Daimler and Toyota
    3) If anything, they’ll cooperate on individual projects, just like everyone else does (i.e. BMW and PSA, PSA and Toyota, Daimler and GM, etc.)
    4) Daimler has a joint venture with Evonik which supposedly is leading in terms of battery technology. I don’t buy it, since their batteries aren’t on the market yet, but if they’re as good as their marketing department says, Toyota might be interested there as well.

  • avatar
    derm81

    1) I can’t stand all this “look what Daimler did to Chrysler” theme. Chrysler was fcuked long before they started talking to Daimler.

    How so? I was there when it happened and so was my father. Trust me, the Daimler overlords pinched every penny they could out of Chrysler. Chrysler was not “fcuked” prior to Daimler contrary to what you might have heard or read.

  • avatar
    tom

    How so? I was there when it happened and so was my father. Trust me, the Daimler overlords pinched every penny they could out of Chrysler. Chrysler was not “fcuked” prior to Daimler contrary to what you might have heard or read.

    At first, Chrysler was still pretty much independent, only when Chrysler lost massive amounts of money Dr Z and Wolfgang Bernhard came along and “pinched every penny”. When that didn’t work either, they abandoned Chrysler.

    But all that aside, Chrysler had two problems to begin with:
    1) A line-up that was great for the 1990s, but not fit for the new millennium, mostly based on trucks and cheap cars.
    2) Legacy costs.

    The second problem alone would have been enough to bring down Chrysler.

    I was once directed to some Mopar fan site where some insider tried to blame everything on Daimler. But after reading the rant that went on for ever, I went away more convinced than before that Chrysler was beyond saving from the beginning. The guy named all kinds of things that Daimler did wrong. And even believing everything he said, nothing was severe enough to bring down a car company. The most severe thing I could make out was some new faulty Software that Daimler forced on Chrysler and that came at the worst possible time. Seriously, if that brought down Chrylser, then Chrysler was already doomed.

    Now I’m not saying that Daimler did everything right. I mean they obviously didn’t. But to blame them on the Chrysler fiasco is just another stab-in-the-back legend. Chrysler brought it unto itself. Daimler might not have been helpful in the process, but they didn’t cause the shit to hit the fan.

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    Chrysler was not fucked prior to entering into a merger with Daimler. They had a very healthy portfolio of cars and trucks (cab forward cars, full sized pickups that changed the market, an SUV that took the market beyond what the Explorer was capable of doing). They were the most profitable of Detroit’s automakers (approx $4B annually). They held nearly 1/4th of the U.S. market.

    If Daimler didn’t fuck them, then explain the transformation from the Neon to the Caliber, Stratus to Sebring, and Grand Cherokee to Commander, and the Caravan’s fall from grace.

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    Chryslers most successful recent cars, the LX platform 300 and Challenger, were based on a Daimler platform, so, Daimler did bring at least something to the table.

    I can’t really see what Toyota and Daimler can do for each other though. Aside from Daimler licensing Toyotas hybrid tech (ala Nissan) to make a Smart Hybrid, what does Toyota have that Daimler wants? Even a bigger question – what does Daimler have that Toyota would want?

  • avatar
    tom

    I can’t really see what Toyota and Daimler can do for each other though. Aside from Daimler licensing Toyotas hybrid tech (ala Nissan) to make a Smart Hybrid, what does Toyota have that Daimler wants? Even a bigger question – what does Daimler have that Toyota would want?

    It’s not hybrid tech. Daimler could have needed that 5 years ago, now they have their own. As is indicated by the article, Daimler still has no platform for their A/B-Class successor. Toyota could deliver that. The current platform is simply too expensive as Mercedes doesn’t sell enough of these models to be viable. The benefit for Toyota would be that they could run their European plants with a higher efficiency, because they could build the A/B-Class on top of their own models.

    What’s also being indicated here is that Toyota might be interested in Daimlers battery tech. Apparently, Daimler is closest to production when it comes to next gen li-io batteries. Although I don’t really believe that…

  • avatar
    Stu Sidoti

    ” Hello Derr, I am Docktor Zee, and theeese is za neu Smart-Prius from Merzadeeez-Yoda-Benz”

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    Why is Daimler interested in joining with anyone? Talk about massive Mercedes-Benz brand dilution… Though I suppose going from engineered to a standard to Toyota clones just continues the long slide of Mercedes. Maybe its just more evidence of the ineptitude of those running Daimler.

    I just can’t get over all this sharing talk. Why would GM and Toyota want to share hybrid tech? Why would BMW and Mercedes discuss partnerships? Why are Daimler and Toyota talking? THEY ARE ALL ENEMIES! What happened to wanting to pummel your competition?

    Its disgusting. And it makes me wanna puke. At this clip, every car in 20 years will be a Toyota/Honda/BMW/GM/Ford/Daimler/VW mish mash of parts. Wow. Sounds awesome….

  • avatar
    Daniel J. Stern

    @Jerome10:
    every car in 20 years will be a Toyota/Honda/BMW/GM/Ford/Daimler/VW mish mash of parts.

    Oh, I hadn’t heard AMC’s going to make a comeback…

  • avatar
    seabrjim

    After finishing the book “Taken for a ride” about a month ago, all I can say is, dont do it Toyota!

  • avatar
    reclusive_in_nature

    The perfect storm of self satisfaction.

  • avatar
    gromit

    Look what Daimler did to Chrysler? Look what Chrysler did to its European acquisitions.

  • avatar
    WaftableTorque

    I can see why Toyota may want Mercedes’ battery technology. The S400 hybrid will probably be a home run for Benz in the US market, something that the LS600hL never was.

    I think Lexus made a mistake by not offering a fuel efficient hybrid (LS350hL?) for the market. It would have cannibalized their LS460’s, but the future of full size flagships is not going to be with a V8.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Chryslers most successful recent cars, the LX platform 300 and Challenger, were based on a Daimler platform,

    No, they weren’t. They have a Mercedes transmission and some rear suspension bits derived from the old-at-the-time-and-ancient-now E-Class. The rest of the car is Chrysler’s work.

    …so, Daimler did bring at least something to the table.

    Yes, they brought hubris in spades. Chrysler wasn’t great when Daimler showed up: their quality and warranty performance wasn’t hot, but it was better than that of a contemporary Ford or GM’s. Stepping into a Chrysler product (say, an Intrepid, Caravan or Sebring) versus a Windstar, Lumina or Cavalier would have been enough to demonstrate that.

    Again, not perfect, but on the same path that Ford started on a few years later. Plus, they were actually making money on small cars, which was unheard of for an American marque.

    Daimler wrecked all that. Badly. Engineering arrogance put Chrysler’s small- and medium car programs so far behind that the replacement for the now-ten-year old Neon/PT and Sebring/Stratus ended up being demonstrably worse than the cars they replaced. Every car—every single one—from Daimler’s reign was garbage.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I can see why Toyota may want Mercedes’ battery technology. The S400 hybrid will probably be a home run for Benz in the US market, something that the LS600hL never was.

    I don’t think so. Unlike the LS600hL, which really is “the best Lexus”, the S400 is really just a normal S-Class with a battery-assist mode. Like the Honda Civic or Chevy Malibu, it’s battery is small and the motor just helps turn the crank, where the LS can run electric-only and can do so for some while in urban environments.

    The LS is also much, much more powerful. It’s an LS430 with a big electric motor; the S400 is an S350 with a very small one.

    Lexus sells every LS600hL they make and they sell out very quickly, though admittedly they don’t make many, either. The car does quite well. I don’t see the unsuccessful you’re speaking of. But I do think the Lexus could benefit from lighter batteries, and the S400’s LiIons, if they’re workable, would provide that.

  • avatar
    Ronman

    well it makes perfect sense with respect to the A and B class. but the S? that’s absurd! even if Toyota are eying battery technology. buy an S400 Hybrid and copy it. Hey the Chinese are doing it with lesser things…..

  • avatar

    These explanations are not mutually exclusive. Reality: Chrysler was in a tight spot, which is why they sold out to Daimler. (Well, that and big bonuses to the Chrysler execs.) And then Daimler took a bad situation and made it much worse through awful product design decisions.

    Penny-pinching? That occurred both before and after.

  • avatar
    WaftableTorque

    Lexus sells every LS600hL they make and they sell out very quickly, though admittedly they don’t make many, either. The car does quite well. I don’t see the unsuccessful you’re speaking of.

    I have no complaints about the LS, I have an LS430 myself. It’s a credit to Toyota that you can keep an LS for 300,000+ miles without the electrical hassles or parts obsolescence of a 7/S/XJ. I think the S400’s battery is a simpler solution, though I might not buy either hybrid, I’m smitten by the Hyundai Equus.

  • avatar
    windswords

    gromit:

    “Look what Daimler did to Chrysler? Look what Chrysler did to its European acquisitions.”

    Unlike Chrysler (a healthy company with market share, products, and most importantly money in the bank), the European acquisitions of Chrysler in the 60’s and 70’s were already dead companies walking. They were bad acquisitions, unlike the acquisition of Chrysler by Dumbler.

    Michael Karesh:

    “Reality: Chrysler was in a tight spot, which is why they sold out to Daimler.”

    Actually Dumbler was more in need of Chrysler then the other way around. They were worried about being bought by someone else so they had to grow by acquisition. The $10 billion in Chrysler’s bank account was another incentive for them.

    psarhjinian:

    “Chrysler wasn’t great when Daimler showed up: their quality and warranty performance wasn’t hot, but it was better than that of a contemporary Ford or GM’s.”

    It was also better than Mercedes at the time according to JD Powers, but that is not how the media reported it. You would have thought the German gods of quality were going to descend on Auburn Hills and magically fix everything.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I think the S400’s battery is a simpler solution,

    It’s not that the battery is simpler (Lithuim cells are actually more difficult to put into automotive use), it’s that they’re much lighter for the amount of power they can store. If Mercedes can get around the heat, life and volatility issues, more power to them.

    But the actual drive in the S400 is really no more advanced than Honda’s IMA system or GM’s BAS. This isn’t bad, but it doesn’t do a whole lot above idle-stop, regen-braking and mild electric assist. The problem is that IMA/BAS is that they’re demonstrably harder on batteries than Toyota’s system is. You can already find Insights and Civics with charge issues that don’t exist in Priuses. And this is with NiMH, which is a little friendlier to this sort of thing than LiIon.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • Detroit-Iron: F1, like the IOC, supports slave labour, human rights abuses, and validating dictators and other...
  • mcs: One of the things they discovered about the effectiveness of conventional masks with kids is that it kept them...
  • kcflyer: I did find it interesting that the n95 filters particles smaller than the openings in the mask by magicly...
  • kcflyer: at Arthur Dailey. Thanks for the links. Very helpful in general but none addresed my specific question as...
  • ToolGuy: @mcs, Do you think he got the promotion because he drove the “right” vehicle? If...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber