BMW and Daimler said to be in talks to develop compact/mid-sized cars, electric vehicles together


Paul Tan's Automotive News

BMW and Daimler are reportedly studying the idea of working together on electric vehicle platforms, a move that could save each carmaker a fair bit of money, as Reuters reports.

According to German publications Sueddeutsche Zeitung and Auto Bild, which provided the original source of information on the matter, both automakers are apparently in talks about sharing engineering costs for compact and mid-size cars. Allegedly, the vehicles are set to feature all-electric powertrains, but could also be designed to accommodate internal combustion engines.

Going the shared routed would save each automaker US$7.91 billion (RM32.26 billion) over a period of seven years, and savings could be higher if larger models are added into the joint-platform mix, Auto Bild said. Talks are however still in their early stages and plans could possibly change. Both automakers have not commented on the reports.

The possibility of vehicle collaboration has been mentioned before – earlier this year, German news outlet Handelsblatt reported that both automakers were looking at the possibility of co-developing future compact car models, such as that found in the 1 Series and the A-Class model range. It said then that this would be part of a wider cooperation that also includes technology sharing for autonomous cars.

The latter has already come about. Last month, BMW and Daimler announced they will be collaborating to invest more than one billion euros to create a new global player providing sustainable mobility services to customers across a wide spectrum of portfolios involving car-sharing, ride-hailing, parking, charging and multimodal transport.

The cooperation will span over five joint ventures, namely Reach Now, Charge Now, Park Now, Free Now and Share Now. Each business will have its own CEO, with both automakers functioning as overseers, but not interfering in the companies’ operations.

Earlier this month, the two German companies also signed a MoU for a long-term strategic cooperation on self-driving cars. The initial focus will be on developing next-generation technologies for driver assistance systems, highway autonomous driving and parking features up the SAE’s Level 4 standard, but both parties will also look into the possibility of extending that partnership to include higher levels of autonomy covering urban areas.

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