By on March 27, 2012

Last December, Toyota and BMW announced “a long-term technological partnership.”  Ostensibly, it was about developing batteries together, and about BMW supplying diesel engines, in that order. Four months later, the priorities seem to have changed a little.

In a joint press release, Toyota and BMW announce that they just now have signed an agreement on collaborative research for lithium-ion battery cells. Research has started, and this being research, it can take a while.

The diesel engines will come earlier, and in earnest. Toyota has contracted BMW as the supplier of highly efficient 1.6 liter and 2.0 liter diesel engines, and BMW will start shipping in 2014. Toyota has realized that diesel is a big seller especially in Europe, where it holds 50 percent market share. Diesel is making inroads in India. Even in Japan, diesel cars are beginning to appeal to customers. Toyota has its hands full with hybrids and other new generation technologies and does not have the bandwidth to tinker with its own diesel engines.


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11 Comments on “Toyota/BMW Partnership: Diesel Engines Earlier, Batteries Later...”

  • avatar

    I thought Toyota bought what was leftover of Isuzu for their diesel technology when GM had their fire sale on brands that had to go.

  • avatar

    ‘die Achse steigt wieder!’ or if one prefers – ‘軸は再び上昇している!’

    Does this mean a diesel Corolla for NA? I won’t hold my breath…

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Now if only Toyota could take some handling tips from BMW and in return teach them a little about reliability, this world would be a much better place

    • 0 avatar


      I got burned on a Volkswagen. When I look at more expensive German cars (Audi, BMW, Mercedes), I see tradeoffs against my Toyota — rather than superior cars.

      The value proposition:
      Question: “Wanna trade some reliability, cupholders, and a lot of cash to get better handling and an ‘up yours’ nameplate?”
      Answer: “No thanks, I’ll keep my boring old Toyota. This actually WILL save me crapload of money!”

      Such is life in my corner of the middle class.

      • 0 avatar

        And yet saving money is not entirely what life is all about. I have never seen a Hearse with a Brinks truck following along behind it.

      • 0 avatar

        But have you seen a hearse with a U-haul trailer in tow? The maintenance man at my apartment complex had just such a rig (which he used to haul his stained glass works to and from arts & crafts fairs). A local pastor commented on it once: “Now that’s what I call dying and taking it with you.”

  • avatar

    The ideal BMW/Toyota partnership would be if Toyota taught BMW how to make reliable cars and, in turn, BMW gave some tips to Toyota on how to make cars that people actually want to drive.

  • avatar

    I’m guessing this means that Primearth EV Energy Co (Toyota and Panasonic’s battery JV) will supply batteries to BMW.

    Meaning, that Panasonic-Sanyo’s dominant position in hybrid and EV batteries will be extended. They already supply batteries to the Prius, Insight, Civic Hybrid, Tesla Roadster/S, several GM two-modes (along with Hitachi), VW Tourag Hybrid, as well as the Ford hybrids.

    BMW, may be having second thoughts of its tie-up with A123 Systems after the very public reliability and recall issues that its had been Fisker. BMW having their i3 or i8 die in the hands of Consumer Reports would have a massively negative impact, not just on their EV lineup, but the image of entire brand.

  • avatar

    There was also an article on Autoweek a year ago, saying that Toyota wants to turbocharge its engine lineup. Maybe this alliance is a way to achieve that.

  • avatar

    BMW already has an alliance for electric cars with PSA called BPC Electrification

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    This seems to be good business for both parties to me. Toyota gets the diesels they need, which are considered in their technologies “menu” as the rest of the OEMs and BMW gets some $$$ to improve their ROI in the R&D of those engines.

    Toyotas and BMW are sold to very different customers. I bet the typical Toyota customer is not interested in having “The Ultimate Driving Machine”, and the same goes for the BMW ones in having a rolling appliance.

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