BMW, Toyota Move Ahead on Sports Car With Agreement on Platform

BMW AG and Toyota Motor Corp. are moving ahead on a project to jointly develop a midsize sports car with an an agreement on common underpinnings of major components for the model.

The program to create the vehicle is “progressing according to plan” with the accord on the platform, Munich-based BMW said Monday in an e-mailed response to questions.

Carmakers are trying to ease the burden of investing in new models as the cost of technology such as autonomous driving and more efficient engines strains profitability. The difficulty of reaching adequate returns on spending has prompted Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne to advocate for consolidation in the industry.

Toyota, the world’s biggest carmaker, and BMW, the biggest producer of luxury vehicles, outlined plans for the sports car in early 2013 and said in November 2014 that they’d reached the concept phase for the vehicle after completing a technical feasibility study. The manufacturers have declined to specify where the model might be built or when production would start.

The carmakers’ cooperation alliance also includes research projects on fuel cells. Testing of a first set of components remains scheduled for 2020, BMW said Monday.

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