BMW and Daimler might follow Ford and Volkswagen's lead by pursuing sharing vehicle architectures and next-gen technology. Germany's Handelsblatt cited unnamed insiders from both companies as the source of this rumor, but the report was clear that the automakers haven't nailed down any official points about the plan yet. This was the second time that rumors like this have emerged.
The most tantalizing possibility, although perhaps least likely, is that the automakers may collaborate on a common platform for the BMW 1 Series and Mercedes A-Class. According to Handelsblatt, the models on the shared underpinnings wouldn't arrive until after 2025 at the earliest because new generations of both models are still very recent arrivals.
According to the report, some insiders at BMW and Mercedes aren't comfortable with the idea of collaborating on a platform together. The years of fierce competition between the German automakers is hard to get rid of.
Instead, the main aim of this partnership would likely be reducing the costs of creating autonomous driving systems. At least in part, this initiative would allegedly come from sharing patents, in addition developing tech together. The companies reportedly hope that their system could become an industry standard.
Another part of the money-saving plan might involve sharing major components between BMW and Mercedes-Benz vehicles. The Handelsblatt report says that transmissions and battery cells are the major components that the companies might split in the future.
Partnerships like this seem to be the way forward in the industry. For example, Ford and VW has announced plans to share development of a future midsized pickup, one-ton van, and smaller city van. In addition, they signed a memorandum of understanding to investigate to collaborating on electric vehicles, autonomous tech, and mobility services.