By on June 29, 2012

“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.

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20 Comments on “BMW And Toyota To Jointly Develop Sports Cars And More...”

  • avatar

    “It can only benefit Lexus if Toyota learns by example how to set a brand totally free.”

    I don’t see how BMW can help there. BMW’s example is that they simply don’t make mainstream counterparts to BMW-branded vehicles. They were well established before acquiring MINI, which is a brand unique enough to leave no doubt about the differences between a MINI and BMW. Lexus began life with a volume model that was a thinly disguised Camry that was dumped into North America at a loss to get a foothold.

    Does BMW have an example of how to erase recent history?

  • avatar


    “Toyota…the Ultimate Driving Appliance”

    Now if some of Toyota’s reliability would rub off on BMW, it’d be a win-win…

    • 0 avatar

      Card carrying Prius/Sienna driver here. I agree on both counts!

      Owning a BMW would be less crazy if they had Toyota-like reliability. It just seems nuts to pay more for a less reliable car.

      But since calling a car “the ultimate driving appliance” actually makes it sound better to me, I should probably just stick with Toyota. :-)

  • avatar
    el scotto

    In the near future will we see a Corolla with a sports package and the ultimate hybrid machine?

  • avatar

    Interesting news. Hopefully this partnership won’t go south like the one between VW and Suzuki.

  • avatar

    This is certainly a sign of the apocalypse.

  • avatar

    Best partnership yet?

  • avatar

    Toyota and BMW always seemed like sister companies in a strange way. BMW was the first of the Germans to understand how good Lexus was, and that they needed to be that good or better to compete. It took another few years for Audi and Mercedes to get the picture.

    And then BMW did beat Lexus by offering more driving excitement while Watanabe let Toyota rest on its laurels. I am thrilled to see them partner on this basis, the basis of building the best automobiles in the world.

    And Toyoda is just something else. Screw Lutz – Toyoda is the real deal.

  • avatar

    If Toyoda only wanted to partner with the people passing everyone on the ‘Ring, why not just hire away the entire GT-R engineering team? Or just buy out Mazda if you want to inject some sportiness.

    • 0 avatar

      I think Toyoda’s comment about getting passed by BMWs was more of a light-hearted symbolic comment, made for the purpose of complementing his new business partner at a key public announcement. If they partnered with Porsche, well, he would say he is always getting passed by Porsches!

  • avatar

    This is good news to hear. BMWs with Toyota reliability. And Toyotas with some BMW DNA in them.

    I drive a Lexus now, but sometimes wonder how my driving experience would be in a BMW. However, being fairly confident in not having to visit the shop too often is very comforting.

    I wouldn’t mind the BMW I-6 (if they don’t stop or haven’t stopped production) in my ride with Toyota electronics and peripherals.

  • avatar

    My main question is: where does this leave Hachiroku? I hoped for it to have an extended life through successive developments, like the one MX-5 enjoyed. Are we getting it canned to make room for the sporty Toyobimmer?

  • avatar

    As long as BMW isn’t getting floor mat technology from Lexus, it should all be good.

    • 0 avatar

      And Toyota had better keep their own turn signal technology.

      Seriously, I get cut off 30 seconds after I see a BMW at least 80% of the time. At least I’m enough of a car guy to recognize then from a distance and see them coming.

      On the other hand, the “ultimate driving machine”s are frequently one tap of the brake pedal away from mating (in a purely mechanical sense) with my Sienna, so it’s not entirely surprising to see this happening on the corporate level, too.

  • avatar
    C P

    Would rather see toyota & Mazda cross breed.

  • avatar

    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.

    • 0 avatar
      Vance Torino

      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?)


  • avatar

    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…..)

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