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      08-14-2012, 06:59 PM   #60

Drives: E39 530i & F10 LCI 518d
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Europe

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Originally Posted by kooper View Post
This is getting... interesting. I read somewhere not too long ago that most automotive CEOs say that in order for a company to survive in the future, it must be able to sell at least 3 million cars per annum.

Where is BMW these days, 1.7, 1.8 mil? I'm thinking this FWD model is a stab at upping units.

However... I've also read a crazy thought from some well respected journalist (I cannot remember that journalist's name btw.) that BMW and Mercedes (yes, Mercedes) might be thinking about sharing certain platforms and joining forces. Kind of like a merger without the merger part.

He detailed that it does make sense for both companies since most of their products are in the same segments (3 and C, 5 and E, S and 7, X5 and ML etc.). He speculated that we probably shouldn't expect to see shared chassis and engines between the two, but a lot more shared parts nonetheless. The S and 7 would apparently be kept separate since these are considered the "crown jewels" of each company.

Got your attention yet? Well, he also went on to say that the one model not quite fitting in in this grand plan was...

...wait for it...

--> The RWD 1 Series <--

It's about 2 years I reckon since I read that article, and here we are. A FWD BMW 1 Series is about to see the light of day very, very soon.

You have to admit, it does sort of stack up if you do the math: FWD 1 Series and A/ B Class models sharing numerous parts and suppliers, same for future 3 and C, and 5 and E. Perhaps even more models than that.
The thing with this strategy is that it's unlikely that it will help either BMW or Mercedes reach 3 mil. units per annum, but it will probably decrease costs dramatically.

Will it happen? Will we be seeing a 1 Series GT ala B Class shortly after the FWD 1 Series? Will BMW and Merc jump into bed together? Can we expect a BMW-Benz any time soon? Hold on to your buttcheecks folks, there be strange times ahead (maybe).

EDIT: Also maybe worth pondering, is it any coincidence that the new A Class has ditched the sandwich floor?
Very intersting theory! In the past, the official contacts between Merc and BMW where negative. Probably Benz wants to play the charts seen their dominance, but BMW will not as such subdue either. The new A class has an engine of Renault/Nissan now, so even the premium merc is willing to throw in a less than premium engine in the A!?

The sandwich floor disappeared since it was way too expensive, rather heavy and not technological dominant on longer term. The new A-class has become a hatchback and is no longer a mini SUV so sandwich is obsolete now.