BMW And Toyota To Jointly Develop Sports Cars And More

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
bmw and toyota to jointly develop sports cars and more

“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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  • 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.....)

  • Jeff S Some of us don't care either way we are not into this type of car. Most of these will be stored in garages waiting for their value to go up. As someone above noted this is an old body style which is retro 70s Challenger which after researching it came out in the 2008 MY which means a long run for a model that is in its 16th year. I have always liked these but if I bought one I would not spend this kind of money on one probably get the V-6 version and use it as a family car but then I am not into drag racing or muscle cars. For the type of car it is it has a decent rear seat and not too bad of a trunk. Most of us are not going to spend 100k for any vehicle at least currently so its not something most of us will buy and stick in a garage waiting for its value to increase. I am glad that these editions came out for those who can afford them and it keeps a little more color into what has become a very dull vehicle market but then with age I pick the dull appliance like reliable vehicle because that's what I need. Impressive car but not for me.
  • Jonathan The Germans. So organized they can appear disorganized. I agree with some others, classic names like Thunderbird, Imperial, Grand Prix, Ambassador etc. just have more appeal.
  • Bobbysirhan A friend had one when they first came out. He was CFO of some green California company and could charge the Volt at work. At home, the PHEV gave him an excuse to make his wife park her nicer car outdoors while the Volt get their condo's one-car garage. He liked the Volt, and he spent very little on energy during the 'first one's free!' era of EV ownership. Of course, the green company went bust soon after, and he wound up with a job that involved far more driving and ultimately the need for a more substantial car. I drove the Volt once after his wife had made a return trip to Los Angeles, depleting the battery. I don't know what a first gen Volt drives like with a charged battery, but it was really gutless with two adults, a yellow lab, and a dead battery. My other memory of it was that it had a really cramped back seat for a car that was about as large as a Civic. My friend who bought it liked it though, and that's not always been the case for GM vehicles.
  • MrIcky I think the Shakedown is more my speed of the last call editions- but this is impressive.
  • Dukeisduke I tried watching the live reveal last night, but after 15 minutes of jawing by MT+ personalities (and yes, I like Chris Jacobs and Alex Taylor), I turned it off.