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BMW and PSA to extend engine alliance

Powering on: The joint venture between BMW and PSA that spawned the Mini's engine will continue into another generation of four-cylinder drivetrains.

German, French car-makers extend engine pact – and look into more joint projects

Mini logo5 Feb 2010

BMW Group and PSA Peugeot Citroen have confirmed they will extend their powertrain alliance, developing the current ‘Prince’ four-cylinder petrol engine family into a new generation that will meet stringent EU6 emissions requirements.

In a statement released this week, the German and French car-makers, which both use the engine across a range of Mini, Peugeot and Citroen small cars (in 1.4- and 1.6-litre guise), said other areas of co-operation at systems and component levels would be examined “with the aim of leveraging synergies in the development, production and procurement of selected components”.

“We have always been very successful in our co-operation with our partners, and that is particularly true with regard to PSA,” said BMW AG CEO Norbert Reithofer.

“We are delighted to continue our engine co-operation and look into options for further collaboration.” His counterpart at PSA Peugeot Citroen, Philippe Varin added: “This new agreement with BMW is confirming the success of the co-operation between our two companies which has produced 1.3 million engines since 2006.

“I am confident that the next generation of jointly developed engines will reach the same success as the current generation.”

 center imageThe announcement is another move toward global co-operation in the car industry that bodies such as the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) have been calling for as environmental issues and economic conditions become more acute.

In an interview with GoAuto last October, SAE International chief executive David Schutt said the global automotive industry needed to be more effective in increasing the “pre-competitive” side of their operations, such as using common powertrain designs and technologies.

He also said at the time that he expected powertrain alliances to broaden between rival manufacturers, such as the one in place between BMW and PSA, which will enable them to keep R&D costs down and still meet increasingly stringent environmental standards.

“The automobile industry is going to become far more competitive – and it is going to become more expensive,” Dr Schutt said.

“Let’s just take powertrains, for example. Powertrains are extraordinarily sophisticated today, and they’re going to get more sophisticated in the future, trying to meet the different environmental standards and in dealing with different fuels and different regions.

“It’s going to become very difficult for any individual company to actually have a competitive edge, or have the ability to develop sophisticated powertrains. So I would see some of those partnerships beginning to develop, as they have already, and growing into the future.

“(There are also) discussions about whether there will become standard powertrains at the low end – the 1.4, 1.6-litre four-cylinder engines … (and) I think there is going to be some business cases for that on many occasions.”

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