MUNICH, GERMANY (July 2, 11:55 a.m. ET) — BMW and Toyota Motor Corp. on June 29 said they will develop a sports car together and cooperate in fuel cell technology, powertrain electrification and lightweight technologies.
Toyota is strong in powertrains for electric and hybrid cars while BMW can help Toyota reduce the weight of its cars, making them more fuel efficient. BMW has taken a leading role in carbon fiber, a lightweight, super-strong yet expensive material that so far is mainly in high-end sports cars.
BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer and Toyota President Akio Toyoda signed an agreement at BMW's Munich headquarters to expand long-term strategic collaboration between the two automakers.
In March, BMW and Toyota agreed to collaborate with BMW on lithium-ion battery research in exchange for a steady supply of BMW-made diesel engines starting in 2014.
The expanded deal signifies a second major transatlantic pact of a German premium carmaker after Mercedes parent Daimler agreed a partnership with Renault-Nissan. The tie-up could also serve to help ward off German rival Audi, which enjoys bigger economies of scale thanks to its parent Volkswagen AG.
“Toyota and the BMW Group share the same strategic vision of sustainable individual future mobility. Together we have a great opportunity to continue leading our industry through this transformation,” Reithofer said in a statement.
Toyoda said in the same statement: “Toyota is strong in environment-friendly hybrids and fuel cells. On the other hand, I believe BMW's strength is in developing sports cars. I am excited to think of the cars that will result from this relationship.”