Toyota, BMW strongly motivated to collaborate on sportscar: Totoya executive

Mon Feb 29, 2016 5:24pm EST
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GENEVA (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T: Quote) and Germany's BMW (BMWG.DE: Quote) are still keen to develop a common sportscar architecture but have yet to decide on a timeline for the project, a senior executive at the Japanese carmaker said on Monday.

BMW and Toyota have for some years been collaborating on fuel cell technology, lightweight components, and on possibly jointly developing the underpinnings of a sportscar, which would spawn separate vehicles for each brand.

Speaking ahead of the Geneva auto show, Toyota executive vice president Didier Leroy said all three projects were going very well and there was strong support for the sportscar from both firms.

"On both sides we have strong motivation to make it successful, we want to make the car," Leroy said. "We know exactly which kind of body we want to do, we know exactly which kind of powertrain we want to use ... now we just have to decide by when we want to start this car."

He declined to comment on a possible timeframe.

Toyota's sales in Europe, which for the carmaker counts 56 countries, including Israel, Russia and Turkey, fell slightly to 874,000 vehicles last year as higher deliveries in the western part of the region failed to offset a sharp drop in Russia.

But volumes are seen returning to growth in 2016.

"In 2014 we sold 888,000, and we’ve set ourselves a target of stepping above that (in 2016)," Toyota's head for Europe Johan van Zyl said at the same event. He expects overall industry sales in the region to grow by 1 percent this year.

Some 70 percent of Toyota's vehicles sold in Europe last year were produced in the region. The carmaker expects to increase that percentage this year by adding two localized models, the C-HR crossover that will be manufactured in Turkey and the RAV4 that will be assembled in Russia.   Continued...

The logo of Toyota is seen on a Toyota Fortuner vehicle at a showroom in Jakarta, Indonesia February 24, 2016. Picture taken February 24.   REUTERS/Beawiharta