Will Mercedes and BMW build a car together?
In a very odd report, the German magazine Autobild is said to report in the issue out Friday that Mercedes-Benz is in heavy talks with BMW to cooperate in production of small cars and that the next generation A Series may actually be based on the BMW Mini.
The report is odd because it has been reported within the past week that the A Class would be dropped entirely in 2012, when it had been scheduled for its next fully revamp. That news had originated in a German business weekly, WirtschaftsWoche, and has been widely reported by other publications.
However, Automotive News and Marketwatch.com are now reporting that Autobild has a different story. According to them, the forthcoming Autobild report indicates that the next generation A Class was to have been built on a Chrysler platform. With Chrysler no longer part of the Daimler family, a different platform is needed. The discussions with BMW are a way of obtaining one.
Though Autobild is a publication with an impeccable reputation, the report being attributed to it seems odd. There has been no indication that Chrysler has been developing a subcompact platform. To the contrary, Chrysler has been in talks with Chinese manufacturer Chery to produce subcompact cars for it for several months. It seems odd that it would have engaged in those discussions – which were concluded with a contract signing on the Fourth of July – had it been developing a subcompact.
It also seems odd that Daimler would have delegated that task to Chrysler when the American company was still a unit of Daimler, as production of the current second generation A Class and the Smart both give Mercedes far more experience at engineering a small car than Chrysler.
Of course, BMW could be considered to have more long-term experience at small cars than either of the other companies. It got its start in automobiles by building the Isetta, pictured here, in the mid 1950’s, using one of its motorcycle engines as power. So, it would only be continuing its founding tradition.
Source: Market Watch