2010 BMW 135i – Click above for high-res image gallery

We're well aware that BMW plans to introduce several compact, front-wheel-drive models in the U.S. within the next few years. We also know that BMW and PSA Peugeot Citroen have been cooperating on engine development for several years, which includes a jointly designed four-cylinder gasoline engine that's about to go under the knife for a complete redesign and emerge as a Euro 6-compliant four banger. Now, through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), it's known that BMW and PSA will expand their collaborative agreement to include the development of hybrid components for FWD models as well.

Unsurprisingly, neither party will discuss the specifics of the deal, but joint development and production of these components will allow both companies to leverage economies of scale. The deal should also speed up the hybridization process and perhaps create a competitive advantage for both brands, as well as reignite rumors about BMW's upcoming FWD vehicles.

If you recall, at the Annual Accounts Press Conference back in March, Dr. Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW, had this to say:
[The small car] segment is expected to grow further. And we will take advantage of this opportunity. We are exploring the possibility of developing a joint architecture for the front and four-wheel drive systems of these cars. In other words: There will be front-wheel drive BMWs in the smaller vehicle classes in the future.
Now, this latest hybrid agreement between BMW and PSA allows us to speculate that at least one of the upcoming, FWD models could feature a gas-electric powertrain as well. You think?


Related Gallery2010 BMW 135i

[Source: BMW]


PRESS RELEASE

BMW Group and PSA expand cooperation to hybrid systems


18.10.2010

Development of hybrid components for front-wheel-drive vehicles

Cooperation will leverage significant economies of scale

Munich, Paris. The BMW Group and PSA Peugeot Citroën intend to expand their successful cooperation by including hybrid components for front-wheel-drive vehicles.

A memorandum of understanding to this effect has been signed by Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, and Philippe Varin, Chairman of the Managing Board of PSA Peugeot Citroën.

The components are to be used in front-wheel-drive vehicles with electrified drive trains. Joint development and production of components as well as joint purchasing will leverage significant economies of scale for both partners. It will also allow them to standardise key elements for the electrification of vehicles.

"This cooperation will deliver a major contribution towards a competitive cost structure in the field of electrification. It also represents another important step on the road to sustainable mobility," said Reithofer.

"We are pleased to broaden our long-standing cooperation based on the strong relationship that exists between our two companies," added Philippe Varin. "Combining both partners' expertise in hybrid technologies will clearly create competitive advantage."

Both parties have agreed not to disclose financial details of the agreement.

The BMW Group and PSA Peugeot Citroën have been successfully cooperating on engines for several years. In February 2010, the two companies agreed to develop the next generation of their jointly designed 4-cylinder petrol engine, which will also meet EU 6 requirements. The joint engine is currently built into a number of MINI, Peugeot and Citroën brand models.

The BMW Group

The BMW Group is one of the most successful manufacturers of automobiles and motorcycles in the world with its BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce brands. As a global company, the BMW Group operates 24 production facilities in 13 countries and has a global sales network in more than 140 countries.

The BMW Group achieved a global sales volume of approximately 1.29 million automobiles and over 87,000 motorcycles for the 2009 financial year. Revenues totalled euro 50.68 billion. At 31 December 2009, the company employed a global workforce of approximately 96,000 associates.

The success of the BMW Group has always been built on long-term thinking and responsible action. The company has therefore established ecological and social sustainability throughout the value chain, comprehensive product responsibility and a clear commitment to conserving resources as an integral part of its strategy. As a result of its efforts, the BMW Group has been ranked industry leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes for the last six years.