Official: BMW & Toyota to Form Technology Partnership

Turns out the rumors were true — it was announced today that BMW & Toyota have agreed to form a technology partnership:

…the two companies agreed on a collaborative research in the field of next-generation lithium-ion battery technologies. Furthermore, they have agreed to identify and discuss other possible collaborative projects.

In addition, Toyota Motor Europe (TME), TMC’s European subsidiary, and BMW have entered into a contract under which BMW is to supply 1.6 liter and 2.0 liter diesel engines to TME starting in 2014. The engines will be installed in certain Toyota-produced vehicles planned for sale in the European market. Through this agreement, Toyota plans to expand its European lineup and sales of fuel-efficient, low CO2-emission diesel-powered vehicles.

Long term, the research and development of lithium-ion battery technology is going to be very important for both brands, but the more immediate benefit for Toyota (& Lexus) is access to BMW’s 1.6L & 2.0L diesel engines.

Here’s what Toyota Europe president Didier Leroy had to say at the joint press conference:

Engineering work is already underway, but we will begin to take supply of the first engines in 2014. And while we are not prepared yet to share with you which models will get the engines, I can say we will be focusing on locally produced products.

With the explicit mention of locally produced products (like the Toyota Yaris, Auris, Avensis and Corolla, which are all built in European manufacturing plants), it makes me wonder if we’ll be seeing a BMW-powered Lexus happening in the near future — still, it’s the early days, and it’s likely even Toyota & BMW don’t know exactly how things will unfold. Very interesting times ahead.

(For anyone unfamiliar with European engine options, BMW uses a 1.6L diesel in the Mini and 1-series, and 2.0L diesel engines in the 1-series, 3-series & 5-series, among other models.)

Update: Just wanted to share this article from the BBC, which is a nice look at what this partnership means to both companies.

[Source: Toyota]

  • F
  • December 2, 2011
I highly doubt that we will see a Diesel Lexus
  • P
  • December 2, 2011
Diesel is on its way out in Europe because of the Nox pollution problem. Norway just raised the tax on diesel-engined cars.
  • T
  • December 2, 2011
Not sure if I like this idea
If Diesel is no good in Europe or America , bring it to Asia .
  • C
  • December 2, 2011
I think the logic here is that from 2015 on Euro VI emission targets for NOx kick in. Toyota would need to spend a lot on R&D to get diesel engines to that standard. Since BMW will be doing this anyway and diesel engines are not a major part of Toyota's global strategy in future, I think this link makes a lot of sense. It will be interesting to see if the partnership works both ways and whether a 5 series is offered in 2015 with a GS hybrid engine.
    • J
    • December 2, 2011
    Highly doubtful, since BMW just debuted the ActiveHybrid 5 at the Tokyo Motor Show, and it uses BMW's current hybrid technology, developed in a similar collaboration with General Motors and Mercedes-Benz.
why all the people is talking about a Lexus Diesel? In the article the brand which is mentioned is Toyota. I can see a Toyota Diesel (I don't like such motors, but OK) but in Europe are so common. But anyway, I think in BMW they are conscient that they need to research in hybrid technology much more than they're doing till now. I think that in Munich, and of course in Ingolstadt or Stugart, they know that the hybrid engines from Toyota are revolutioning the market, since the GS and LS or, in other markets with the LX. (Can we see in any time a BMW 750h?). So in BMW they decided to join this and, they offer their diesel engines to Toyota, because a Toyota Corolla or Toyota Avensis (and Verso!) in diesel version are so poor against the competence.
  • A
  • December 3, 2011
this is very good news.  we need more research and development with regards to lithium-ion batteries.  good stuff.
  • F
  • December 4, 2011
This will mostly benefit BMW, as diesel as a whole are gonna be replaced with Hybrids in the near future.. Hate to say it but Toyota are at a loss here, similar deals has happened with Ford & Toyota just 2 months ago.. Every company wants share of the heavily reliable, sophisticated and heavily patent Toyota Hybrid Technology..