16th July 2012
Akio Toyoda, President of Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) and Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, have met at BMW Group headquarters in Munich to announce the planned expansion of their existing cooperation initiated in December last year.
The two companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at long-term strategic collaboration in four fields: joint development of a fuel cell system, joint development of architecture and components for a future sports vehicle, collaboration on powertrain electrification and joint research and development on lightweight technologies and materials.
BMW are currently making headlines as they promote their i-series, a group of three electric vehicles that make use of a lightweight carbon composite body. The production of these materials is being handled by SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers, a joint venture between BMW and SGL. As the industry looks to produce ever more fuel efficient vehicles, material substitution and the use of composite materials are seen as one way in which weight can be saved.
Reithofer said: “We aim to further strengthen our competitive position in sustainable future technologies. We signed an MoU to this effect today. 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.”
Toyoda added: “BMW and Toyota both want to make ever-better cars. We respect each other. And I think this is shown by our taking the next step only six months since the signing of our initial agreement. 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.”
In March 2012, the BMW Group and TMC signed an agreement on collaborative research in the field of next-generation lithium-ion battery cells. In addition, the BMW Group and Toyota Motor Europe entered into a contract under which the BMW Group will supply highly-efficient 1.6 litre and 2.0 litre diesel engines to Toyota Motor Europe, starting in 2014.