BMW And Toyota To Jointly Develop Sports Cars And More

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

“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.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href="http://www.tomokoandbertel.com"> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href="http://www.offshoresuperseries.com"> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

More by Bertel Schmitt

Comments
Join the conversation
3 of 20 comments
  • Arbnpx Arbnpx on Jun 29, 2012

    I'm surprised that no one's said the word "Supra" yet. This is the perfect opportunity to build a Bavarian Supra! Whatever comes out of the Lexus LF-LC concept is going to be V6, AWD, partially hybrid, and heavy. That's good, but it strays from the formula of the MA70 and JZA80 Supra: rear-wheel-drive, about 3400 pounds, inline-six powered at about 300 horsepower, turbocharged hardtop coupe. For BMW, I guess this would collide with the current 335i coupe, but Toyota hasn't had something like this since the Lexus SC. The way I see it, take a BMW N55 engine and a 6-speed manual transmission, mate to a Torsen LSD, double wishbone suspension front and rear (or Macpherson front and double wishbone rear, since both BMW and Toyota have done great work with this layout), and a low, sleek hood using the energy-absorbing properties of the Toyota 86 / Scion FR-S hood. Regarding the engine bay clearance issues of an inline six engine, BMW has plenty of expertise in playing around with engine placement to maximize for a good hood incline, for a hood evocative of the "pop-up headlights" Mark III Supra.

    • Vance Torino Vance Torino on Jun 30, 2012

      First thought into my head: This has SUPRA written all over it. (So is this a pattern? Toyota partnering with niche makers on sports cars to rectify their perennial weak point?) Obviously.

  • Carbiz Carbiz on Jun 29, 2012

    Many people thought the Daimler/Chrysler merger would have reaped benefits for both: Chrysler's (at the time styling leadership) and spanking new factories in North America (Bramalea) plus M-B German engineering mystique could have been a good marriage. I guess BMW is tired of using GM transmission technology... Whatever. I've never understood automaker's fascination of 'you show me yours, and I'll show you mine." Are there any examples of partnerships or mergers that went well? At least in recent memory? Did GM get $2B worth of value from Fiat? What did Ford learn from 'owning' Jaguar? How did GM's Lotus flirtation benefit the company? Out and out purchase, like Hughes Aircraft - that I get. Otherwise, you're just showing the guy across the table your hand. One never knows when a friendly game of poker is going to turn deadly. (I'm sure knowing now what it didn't know 40 years ago, GM and Ford might have protested a little more loudly when major franchisees started setting up those cute little Toyopet and Datsun dealers for tax losses.....)

  • VoGhost Key phrase: "The EV market has grown." Yup, EV sales are up yet again, contrary to what nearly every article on the topic has been claiming. It's almost as if the press gets 30% of ad revenues from oil companies and legacy ICE OEMs.
  • Leonard Ostrander Daniel J, you are making the assertion. It's up to you to produce the evidence.
  • VoGhost I remember all those years when the brilliant TTAC commenters told me over and over how easy it was for legacy automakers to switch to making EVs, and that Tesla was due to be crushed by them in just a few months.
  • D "smaller vehicles" - sorry, that's way too much common sense! Americans won't go along because clever marketing convinced us our egos need big@ss trucks, which give auto manufacturers the profit margin they want, and everybody feels vulnerable now unless they too have a huge vehicle. Lower speed limits could help, but no politician wants to push that losing policy. We'll just go on building more lanes and driving faster and faster behind our vehicle's tinted privacy glass. Visions of Slim Pickens riding a big black jacked up truck out of a B-52.
  • NotMyCircusNotMyMonkeys dudes off the rails on drugs and full of hate and retribution. so is musky.
Next