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BMW and Toyota agree on joint sportscar: report

It’s a deal: Toyota president Akio Toyoda and BMW chairman Norbert Reitofer at their original meeting in Nagoya last January.

Green light for new mid-sized sportscar to be shared by BMW and Toyota

BMW logo31 Dec 2013

By RON HAMMERTON

BMW and Toyota have agreed to go ahead with their proposal to jointly develop a new shared platform for a sportscar, according to a German newspaper report quoting BMW car development chief and board member Herbert Diess.

The two companies first mooted the project in July 2012 and then signed an agreement in January 2013 to study the feasibility of developing such a vehicle, as well as co-operating on various technologies including advanced lithium-air batteries and lightweight technology.

At the time, the companies said they hoped to wrap up the sportscar study by the end of the year, and now, judging by the German report, it is a done deal.

Neither company has released any firm detail on the new architecture, apart from saying in their original announcement that it would be a mid-sized vehicle.

Speaking to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper, Mr Diess emphasised that the cars developed on the joint platform would have distinctly different designs to suit each company.

"We have agreed on a joint architecture for a sports car. What is important is that there will be two different vehicles that are authentic to the two brands," he said.

Some reports in mid 2013 suggested BMW had a list of up six proposed sportscar designs to choose from, including front engine and mid engine layouts.

The Toyota version, which is expected to not only have its own exterior design and interior layout but also a separate powertrain, is likely to end up in the Lexus stable.

In a joint statement released last January, BMW and Toyota said: “The two companies aim to combine each other’s technology and knowledge at a high level to maximise customer satisfaction.

“Both companies are to share the vision to further collaborate in the field of sports vehicle development.” The agreement was signed in Nagoya by Toyota president – and big sportscar fan – Akio Toyoda and BMW chairman Norbert Reitofer.

It marked a major expansion of technical collaboration by the two companies, which already included sharing electric propulsion and diesel engine technologies in an agreement dating from 2011.

Toyota already has a track record in jointly developing sportscars, having developed the Toyota 86 with partner Subaru, which markets it as the BRZ.

While the 86 and BRZ are near identical in most respects, the sportscar to be developed with BMW is expected to have major differences.

Alfa Romeo and Mazda are also jointly developing a sportscar platform to underpin the next generation Mazda MX-5 and Alfa Spider.

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