Daimler and Toyota in Talks

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

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.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • Michael Karesh Michael Karesh on Jul 02, 2009

    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.

  • Waftable Torque Waftable Torque on Jul 02, 2009
    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.
  • Windswords Windswords on Jul 02, 2009

    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.

  • Psarhjinian Psarhjinian on Jul 02, 2009
    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.