Toyota : Decision on sports car project with BMW due soon

FRANKFURT (Reuters) — Toyota Motor Corp. and BMW will decide by year end on whether to develop a common sports car architecture, Toyota executives said on Wednesday.

BMW and Toyota are collaborating on fuel cell technology, lightweight components, and on possibly jointly developing the underpinnings of a sports car.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Frankfurt auto show, Johan van Zyl, head of Toyota’s European operations, said all three projects were progressing well.

“They are all on schedule and on track,” van Zyl said.

A spokesman for the company added that a decision on the sports car, which would spawn separate vehicles for each brand, would be made in the near term.

“By the end of the year we will approve whether or not we will make it,” the spokesman said. “The whole study before that, on what kind of platform, on what kind of architecture, that’s been progressing quite well. We haven’t yet decided to give the green light to the project, but it’s coming up.”

BMW Chief Financial Officer Friedrich Eichiner said on Tuesday the company was in talks with Toyota about intensifying the collaboration, but gave no details. Van Zyl declined comment on the matter.

The Toyota executive said the carmaker’s sales in Europe were likely to fall 1 to 2 percent this year on the back of the slump in the Russian market. He forecast a slight increase in European sales next year, but this was too early to quantify.

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