Toyota would appear to have developed a new taste for performance. The successful launch of its new 86 coupe has given Toyota president Akio Toyoda the crucial support of his company's bean-counters, and new sports cars are on the way.
This week, Toyoda announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with BMW that will see the two carmakers work together not only on new green technology, but also on new sports platforms.
Details of the partnership are thin on the ground, although it has been confirmed that the carmakers will work together on new fuel cell systems and electric powertrains, along with lightweight construction tech and new architectures for future performance models.
Speculation has been rife in recent years that Toyota is quietly planning a new sports flagship, above the 86 coupe, in the vein of its 90s (and early 2000s) Supra hero.
Similiarly, BMW's 2008 M1 Hommage concept - an early inspiration for its upcoming i8 hybrid sports car - has been the subject of more than a few 'on again, off again' reports.
With both companies already heavily invested in green technologies - BMW's ActiveHybrid models and new i range, and Toyota's Prius family - it is also likely that any new sports cars will utilise an alternative-energy powertrain.
“Toyota is strong in environment-friendly hybrids and fuel cells. On the other hand, I believe BMW’s strength is in developing sports cars. I am excited to think of the cars that will result from this relationship,” Toyota president Akio Toyoda said at the signing.
"I am looking forward to a sports car that is environment-friendly and truly excites car fans around the world," he added.
BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer said that BMW will look to the partnership to strengthen the brand's position in the sustainable technologies arena.
"Toyota and the BMW Group share the same strategic vision of sustainable individual future mobility," Reithofer said.
Earlier this year, the companies announced a partnership that will see BMW supply Toyota with diesel engines for the European market, and both will collaborate on new advanced lithium-ion battery technology for electric vehicles.
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