Bloomberg News

BMW Extends Toyota Cooperation to Fuel Cells, Sports Cars

June 29, 2012

Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW) and Toyota Motor Corp. (7203) will cooperate on developing fuel cells to power and designing components for a future sports car as the automakers expand on their joint work to produce next-generation car batteries.

The two manufacturers signed a memorandum of understanding today which also includes collaboration on research into lightweight technologies and the development of electric powertrains, BMW said in a statement distributed before a press conference at its Munich headquarters.

“For the BMW Group, strategic partnerships are an essential part of our strategy,” Chief Executive Officer Norbert Reithofer said in the text of a speech distributed in advance of the joint news conference with Toyota President Akio Toyoda. “It is one way of securing long-term access to customers and technologies.”

Toyota, the world’s biggest hybrid-vehicle maker, signed an agreement with BMW on Dec. 1 to cooperate on boosting performance of lithium-ion batteries, which are used in all- electric vehicles. At the time, the companies said they would explore other projects to develop technology for reducing cars’ fuel consumption and emissions.

Toyota and BMW signed a memorandum of understanding for the further collaborations today.

BMW ended talks on fuel-cell cooperation with Detroit-based General Motors Co. (GM:US), the German company said on June 27. Fuel cells make electricity in a chemical process that combines hydrogen and oxygen, with water vapor as the only exhaust.

Joint Research

Research partnerships have become standard in the auto industry as manufacturers look to reduce development expenses to meet stricter emissions regulations.

BMW, the world’s largest maker of luxury cars, works with PSA Peugeot Citroen (UG) on engines for the Mini brand and on components for hybrid vehicles, which can operate on both electricity and gasoline or diesel. Those projects are under review after GM took a stake in the Paris-based manufacturer as part of a broader alliance.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Webb in Frankfurt at awebb25@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chad Thomas at cthomas16@bloomberg.net


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