BMW and Mercedes working together for a small car
Two of the biggest rivals in the world: BMW and Mercedes decided to join forces and work together for a new small car. This mean that the next Mini and the replacement for the A-Class will be brothers. An official announcement about this decision will be made at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
Both models will be built on the same platform and will be front-wheel-drive models. For BMW this means greater flexibility and for Mercedes a cheaper and more conventional means to build a replacement for the A- and B-class models.
The new platform will allow BMW to build a larger, five-door version of the car to compete with the bigger superminis, or a smaller car to take on the Smart Fortwo, Fiat Panda and Toyota Aygo.
Mercedes on the other hand will have the chance to build cheaper cars with more engines options. But another big problem for both companies is the CO2 emission, that in Europe will be limited to 120g/km by 2012.
A first options for the two companies will be to create an all new small-car platform with a transverse, front-mounted engine, front-wheel drive and a torsion beam rear axle. The new platform would have to be flexible enough to accommodate a variety of different hatchback and MPV bodystyles, and different wheelbases and front and rear overhangs.
Second option for BMW and Mercedes is to capitalise on an asset that the latter has had for almost a decade, but never made great use of – the Smart Fortwo.
Which of those two will be used we can’t know for sure, but either ways, with enough investment and expansion, there’s little reason why this facility couldn’t produce 500.000 cars a year.