BMW, Toyota May Deepen Alliance

Dow Jones Newswires

BMW and Toyota Motor are discussing the possible expansion of their existing alliance, BMW's Chief Finance Officer Friedrich Eichiner said Tuesday. The talks between the world's biggest auto maker by sales and the world's largest maker of premium cars comes as the global auto industry faces upheaval through the emergence of new technology and increasing regulatory pressure to cut emissions and introduce new safety features in all cars. Toyota and BMW already work together to develop fuel cell vehicle technology and recently showed a prototype vehicle, a converted BMW 5-series with a hydrogen engine. "Both companies are interested in further expanding their cooperation," Mr. Eichiner told reporters on the sidelines of the Frankfurt Motor Show. "But we are not thinking of any kind of capital exchange." Under increasing pressure to invest in new technology and from slower growth in the industry, such alliances are becoming increasingly important. Fiat Chrysler Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne has for months been on the search for a partner and continues to court General Motors. GM has refused his advances. BMW rival Daimler AG has an alliance to build small luxury vehicles with Renault-Nissan. Mr. Eichiner also said he sees no sign of improvement in China. Once the fastest-growing car market, China car sales are in decline as the economy grows. The Chinese government has pledged to intervene to spur growth again. "But so far we don't see that in our sales figures," Mr. Eichiner said. "The days of turbulent growth in China may be over forever." Write to William Boston at william.boston@wsj.com

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