Will BMW become a contract engine supplier?
They’re thinking about it, according to BMW’s chief executive officer, Norbert Reithofer. In an interview with the German magazine Focus, Reithofer said that BMW is studying whether it should build engines for other carmakers and also studying whether it could sell to other carmakers the engines it currently builds in a joint venture with Peugeot, engines which it currently uses in the Mini.
It is another sign that BMW is looking for a way to spread its costs, and to integrate with other automakers to do so.
There is nothing new in the idea. BMW has, for some time, purchased most of its automatic transmissions from General Motors, including the six-speed automatic used on their current models. For a brief period of time in the 1980’s, BMW supplied diesel engines offered as an option in Lincoln Continental vehicles sold by Ford.
BMW’s chief executive did not, however, disclose any further details, including what engines the company might target for sale, and whether it would attempt to develop engines for other companies or merely seek to share with other companies engines already developed for existing BMW models.