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BMW-Toyota Sports Car to Debut in Tokyo

The goal is to “exceed all expectations.”

by on May.21, 2013

Senior officials, including Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda and BMW Chairman Nobert Reithofer, celebrate their expanding alliance.

What do you get when BMW and Toyota set down to develop a sports car? We’re apparently about to find out, their joint effort reportedly set to make its eagerly awaited debut at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show.

The midsize sports car is one of several projects that the German and Japanese automaker have announced as part of a growing alliance first announced in 2011. Among other things, the two makers plan to work on fuel cells, lithium-ion batteries and hybrid technology, while BMW is now providing diesel engines for Toyota to use in its European line-up.

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“I get so excited thinking about the cars that will result from this relationship,” Toyota chief Akio Toyoda said in January.

So do a lot of industry observers waiting to find out precisely what the two partners have in store.


Toyota, BMW Expand Their Alliance

New efforts will include fuel cells, electric powertrains and a future sports car.

by on Jun.29, 2012

Toyota and BMW officials during a news conference announcing their original alliance last December.

Toyota and BMW have confirmed they will substantially expand the nascent partnership they first launched late last year – signing a memorandum of understanding that will cover work in four key areas including high-tech fuel cells as well as the foundational “architecture” of a future sports car.

The two makers had first agreed to a limited alliance last December – echoing steps taken by a number of their key competitors, such as Daimler AG and the Renault-Nissan Alliance.  Those three brands have been rapidly expanding their own partnership in a bid to expand global economies of scale and to bring new technologies to market faster than might otherwise be possible working individually.

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“It is one way of securing long-term access to customers and technologies,” said Toyota Motor Co. President Akio Toyoda, during a news conference at BMW headquarters in Munich.

For his part, Bayerische Motoren Werke CEO Norbert Reithofer emphasized that, “For the BMW Group, strategic partnerships are an essential part of our strategy.”


Toyota and BMW Discuss Expanded Alliance

Looking at fuel cells, lithium batteries and other projects.

by on Jun.25, 2012

Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda. is soon expected to announce an expanded alliance with BMW.

It’s the era of the automotive alliance and it appears that Toyota and BMW are looking to expand the unlikely partnership they first announced last December.

At that time, BMW announced it would supply diesel engines to the Japanese automaker. Toyota, meanwhile, revealed plans to work with its German counterpart on advanced lithium-ion battery technology.  Now, the German magazine Der Spiegel reports, the two makers will announce a much larger range of ventures that could include hybrid technology, fuel cells and vehicle electronics.

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That’s a significant shift for both companies, BMW and Toyota traditionally preferring to go it alone rather than team up with erstwhile competitors.  But Yoshi Inaba, president and COO of Toyota Motor North America, told that a change in strategy was urgently needed because, “No one can handle it all by themselves.”


BMW, Toyota To Swap Hybrid Engines for Diesels

Makers would share some of their strongest assets.

by on Nov.29, 2011

Toyota will swap hybrid technology used in models like the 2012 Prius v for BMW's diesel technology.

BMW and Toyota have reportedly agreed to swap diesel and hybrid powertrains in an effort to improve their fleet fuel economy.

Such partnerships are becoming increasingly popular as automakers face the rapid increase in government-mandated mileage standards in key markets such as the U.S., Europe, Japan and China.  The challenge for even the best manufacturers is to ensure they can not only meet new regulations but do it in a way that lives up to customer expectations.

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As part of their new alliance BMW would supply some of its advanced diesel technology to Toyota in return for some of the Japanese maker’s Hybrid Synergy Drive powertrains.  Toyota is the world’s biggest seller of hybrid-electric vehicles, its Prius model accounting for roughly half of global hybrid demand.

According to Automotive News a formal announcement of the partnership would likely be made this week at the Tokyo Motor Show.

BMW was a latecomer to hybrid power and has been struggling to play catch-up, with a gas-electric version of its 5-Series line to be announced at the biennial Tokyo event.  While Toyota has dominated the hybrid field it, in turn, has been slow to embrace diesel technology.

So have its key Japanese rivals – but that appears to be changing.  Mazda plans to offer a diesel version of its new high-mileage Skyactiv system and a senior Honda official told that the maker is also working to expand its diesel line-up.  Significantly, as the Tokyo debut of the 5-Series “oil-burner” suggests, there are signs that diesel demand is expected to grow out of its traditional European stronghold, with sales on the rise in both the U.S. and Japan.

It’s not the first time the two makers have turned to partnerships to expand their powertrain and vehicle options.

BMW previously joined a hybrid consortium that also included General Motors, Chrysler and Daimler AG.  That helped it develop the Bavarian maker’s first hybrid offering though BMW has since walked away from that alliance.

Toyota, meanwhile, will unveil its new GT86 sports car at the Tokyo Motor Show, a vehicle it has developed in partnership with Japan’s smaller automaker Subaru – which will market its own version of the two-seater as the Subaru BRZ.  Toyota is also allied with Silicon Valley-based Tesla Motors.  The start-up battery car maker will, among other things, handle the development of the Toyota RAV-4 EV, due out in less than two years.

Toyota also announced a partnership with Ford, in August, to jointly develop new hybrid SUVs and trucks.  The U.S. maker, for its part, pays a licensing fee to Toyota for patents covering the gas-electric technologies it uses in models such as the Ford Fusion Hybrid.