By on August 22, 2019

With BMW and Daimler already getting cosy via their autonomous vehicle partnership, the duo plans on bringing self-driving (SAE Level 4) tech to the masses by 2024. While other automakers have promised more advanced autonomy on a shorter timeline, the reality of the situation is that true self-driving capabilities are proving difficult and expensive to produce. By partnering up, the Germans believe they can continue their quest while sharing the financial burden of development.

The more the merrier, apparently. According to Germany’s Wirtschaftswoche, Audi will be the next guest to arrive at the party. Daimler and BMW’s previous release stipulated that the pair would focus on the joint development of next-generation technologies for driver assistance systems, automated driving on highways, and automated parking — with the goal of seeing those technologies adapted for passenger vehicles by 2024.  (Read More…)

By on August 12, 2019

Eager to reduce R&D costs, Jaguar Land Rover and BMW forged a cross-channel bond earlier this summer, but the increasingly cozy relationship between the Anglo-German rivals likely won’t end with the mere sharing of electric drive units and internal combustion engines.

A number of JLR vehicles poised to drop from the product pipeline could come to fruition thanks to a piece of Bimmer architecture. (Read More…)

By on August 5, 2019

Image: FCA

Maybe that’s a dated reference in this age of smartphones and hookup romance apps. Regardless, the list of potential partners for a prowling Fiat Chrysler doesn’t begin and end with Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi.

Oh sure, it wouldn’t mind getting down to business with the French-Japanese auto giant, but there’s plenty of fish in the sea. FCA knows it’s a catch, and wants to put Renault on notice that it has plenty of choice in who it goes home with. (Read More…)

By on July 23, 2019

Beijing Automotive Group Co Ltd (BAIC) announced on Tuesday that it had purchased a 5 percent stake in Daimler AG. Despite the pair have been partners in Asia since 2003, via the Beijing Benz Automotive joint venture, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group purchased nearly 10 percent of the German company in 2018 and was reportedly seeking high levels of cooperation.

As one of Geely’s direct rivals, BAIC claimed its investment would help solidify the relationship with Daimler. “This step reinforces our alignment with, and strong support for, Daimler’s management and strategy,” BAIC chairman Heyi Xu said in an official statement. (Read More…)

By on July 19, 2019

On Friday, Toyota Motor Corp. announced it had signed an agreement for the joint development of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) with China’s BYD Company Ltd. Technically, BYD also made an announcement but we’re not scouring their press page on an hourly basis. Toyota gets top billing.

According to the release, the two companies will jointly develop “sedans and low-floor SUVs as well as the onboard batteries for these vehicles and others with the aim to launch them in the Chinese market under the Toyota brand in the first half of the 2020s.”

Having previously announced it was teaming up with Contemporary Amerex Technology (CATL) and Panasonic to supply and develop batteries, Toyota is trying to expand rapidly into electric development — after showing limited interest for years. We’ve no clue how these partnerships will influence the brand’s physical products outside of Asia but, at the very least, it should have fewer battery supply issues than some of the competition moving forward.  (Read More…)

By on June 13, 2019

Herbert Diess Jetta 2017

Volkswagen is close to sealing a deal with Ford Motor Company for the next phase of the two companies’ fledgling alliance. The German giant seems poised to join Ford in its pursuit of self-driving technology through Argo AI — the autonomous startup Ford sunk $1 billion in back in 2017. Paving the way for some sort of tie-up or investment, VW this week ended its partnership with another self-driving startup, Aurora Innovation.

As well, news could soon be forthcoming about a much-rumored electric vehicle pact between the two automakers. (Read More…)

By on June 11, 2019

Image: Ford

Last week’s sinking of the proposed merger between Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and French automaker Renault may not be the final word on that story, but a tie-up between FCA and a rival domestic automaker is definitely not on the table.

It once was, in an informal sort of way. And that table was the dinner table — one populated by Ford chairman Bill Ford and late FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne. (Read More…)

By on June 11, 2019

2017 Ram ProMaster City Tradesman SLT - Image: FCA

For some time, Fiat Chrysler has partnered with Waymo, providing Chrysler Pacificas for its partner’s fledgling autonomous ride-hailing business. Now, FCA has another partner.

Announced Monday, FCA has signed a memorandum of understanding with Aurora, maker of Aurora Driver — a package of hardware and software capable of Level 4 driving that the company hopes to sell to other companies. (Read More…)

By on June 6, 2019

Thursday night’s falling apart of the proposed Fiat Chrysler-Renault merger was a setback for FCA, but the automaker wants everyone to know it remains on the hunt for a willing partner. Essentially, nothing’s changed from the days when former CEO Sergio Marchionne made eyes at the likes of General Motors and Volkswagen, only to receive the cold shoulder.

Sure, it didn’t work out with the French, Chairman John Elkann wrote to FCA employees, but that doesn’t mean FCA won’t soon find a date for the dance. (Read More…)

By on June 6, 2019

Subaru Legacy 2018 Logo Emblem Grille

This is what handing 16.8 percent of your company’s ownership to another automaker gets you. Just days after BMW and Jaguar Land Rover announced an electric powertrain agreement, Subaru and Toyota claim a new, shared electric vehicle platform is on the way, as well as a jointly developed crossover.

The effort will mean Subaru — a brand with only a single (Toyota-assisted) plug-in hybrid on the market — will finally have the means to enter the growing EV field. (Read More…)

By on June 5, 2019

2019 Jaguar I-Pace

On the eve of D-Day, a British automaker and its German rival have teamed up to defeat a modern foe: spiraling development costs born of electrification. Europe’s going green these days, and the need to ditch diesel (and eventually gas) to satisfy the boys on Brussel, coupled with a general cooling off in Western demand, is placing strain on automaker budgets.

The cure, OEMs believe, is collaboration. In a world where BMW hopped into bed with its closest German rival on the mobility front, an electric powertrain partnership between Jaguar Land Rover and Bimmer doesn’t seem all that weird. (Read More…)

By on June 4, 2019

GM

General Motors and tiremaker Michelin no doubt hope a joint research agreement announced Tuesday bears riper fruit than Goodyear’s early-60s attempt to offer illuminated Neothane tires.

The two companies plan to develop and test an airless, puncture-resistant tire, aka the Unique Puncture-proof Tire System (Uptis), with the intent to introduce the product on GM vehicles by 2024. Is the era of the steel-belted radial drawing to a close? (Read More…)

By on April 24, 2019

Not long ago, it was expected that General Motors would sink a pile of cash into upstart electric automaker Rivian. Instead, GM held its horses while Amazon plunked down a $700 million investment in the Michigan-based company.

Now, Ford Motor Company is filling GM’s shoes, offering up half a billion dollars and announcing a co-developed product with the EV company, creator of the long-range R1T pickup and R1S electric three-row SUV. The big question now is: what form will that vehicle take? (Read More…)

By on April 19, 2019

2018 Mercedes-Benz X-Class Power - Image: Mercedes-Benz

The promising partnership that kicked off at the tail end of the last decade might end before this one is over. Compounding rumors about the troubled relationship, a report in a German business publication claims incoming Daimler CEO Ola Kaellenius will pull the plug on the automaker’s tie-up with the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance.

Cost savings are at the core of the unconfirmed plan, and a peek at the recent past makes it seem all the more likely that the two will go their separate ways. (Read More…)

By on March 30, 2019

Image: FCA

Like characters on a long-running TV show, PSA Group and Fiat Chrysler remain the topic of intense speculation as to when they’ll hook up. There’s been romance in the past, including that time in 2007 when they spent the night and walked away with a series of jointly-developed small vans. The children’s names were Peugeot Bipper, Citroen Nemo and Fiat Fiorino. Only the latter survives to this day.

In the large van segment, FCA builds the Fiat Ducato, Peugeot Boxer, and Citroen Jumper at its Italian Sevel Sud plant, with production recently extended through 2023. Thanks to PSA’s acquisition of GM’s European operations, Opel and Vauxhall-badged vans will soon roll from the FCA factory.

As rumors of a kiboshed merger deal swirl (FCA’s controlling family reportedly didn’t approve of the marriage), a new report claims there’s another limited partnership in the works. (Read More…)

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