Why Toyota Loves BMW So Much

Funny little thing this world we live in is, and I say that because all the auto news desks are drumming to the sound of the new axis of power that’s forming between Germany and Japan. Obviously, I’m talking about the brand new deal between Toyota and BMW, which is supposed to spell out “fun”, “light”, “efficient” and “green”, all in the same sentence.
And that sentence is supposed to be a sort of mix between Japanese kanji symbols and the ‘o’s and ‘a’s with those little dots they call umlauts. Guess that should have been spelled “fünu”, “rightö”, “ifishentö” and “gürinu” then!

I’m having too much fun with this, but the point is that out of the blue, Toyota and BMW, two of the biggest names in the business, announced they would switch diesel and hybrid tech between them. That made some sense to me. Nothing tops a 320d for performance and economy combined. At the same time, Toyota is practically synonymous with hybrid, so they are the go-to guys if you want your petrol to have electric company.

It seemed like a perfectly normal deal that would be convenient in the same way that it’s convenient when you find somebody that will deliver both Chine and Italian food when you’re hungry at 3AM. You’re going to be happy that you get a good deal but you’re not going to act like your life has changed.

But today, we got to smell what BMW and Toyota are really cooking, and it’s better than watching godzilla eating bratwurst with beer in lederhosen. Don’t believe me? Just check out what they are collaborating on, and I quote from Toyota: “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.”

Sounds like the axis powers are developing the hybrid Messerschmitt jet and the fuel-cell electric submarine that runs on water. We’re all doomed… No, wait! That’s the wrong century, we don’t need the guns any more.

So basically Toyota and BMW need each other in order to make a light, green sportscar, just like PSA needed that turbo 1.6-liter to make all its hotter cars. And Toyota’s boss Akio Toyoda is not shy in giving praise where praise is due.

Back in May, he gave top honors to sportscars from other brands, among them the Mazda Cosmo Sport which is one of Japan’s first sports coupes, and the Honda NSX. What’s more, Aston Martin CEO Ulrich Bez and Toyota’s chief Akio Toyoda last year swapped a V12 Zagato and the LFA for the big ‘Ring race. “Other company bosses meet on the golf course, we race together," commented Bez.

Toyoda is a racing fanatic and he says that “at the Nurburgring, there is always a car that passes me. It is a BMW.” We don’t know which one, but can you guess where this mystery sportscar will be developed?!

And here’s something you don’t get to hear every day ”We are not coming together to become bigger. We are not coming together to form capital ties.” There is a God, and a Santa Claus and the tooth fairy, and they all came at once!

The Bavarians have this corporate image of German luxury in America or China. But that’s not what they’re all about, not by a long shot. They like to get cars round corners.

So excuse me for getting excited about a sportscar built under the guidance of a CEO that knows cars and is a respectable racer. And I’m also glad to hear that BMWs can do more than tool around from one nightclub to another.

Finally, I can get excited about the prospect of something like a fun rear-drive MINI coupe (not some useless van), or the fact that Toyota is bringing the Supra back as an all-wheel drive hybrid. If this is the German-Japanese axis of evil, being evil never felt so good. God bless that BMW that always passes Toyoda and bring on the fun cars!
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About the author: Mihnea Radu
Mihnea Radu profile photo

Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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