Peugeot, BMW, Mercedes-Benz to Clean the Air...Together?

By Automotive Staff | September 25, 2007
International relations experts might tell you cooperation between the French and Germans is key to European solidarity. Peugeot seems to be taking that belief to heart.Reuters reports Europe's second largest volume leader, Peugeot Citroen, "won't exclude" the possibility of a joint engine development venture with BMW and Mercedes. Although there are no confirmed talks on the matter, this seemingly non-committal statement is more likely typical corporate-speak for "Let's do lunch." This isn't a one-sided opinion, either, as Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche has made similar comments in the past, particularly regarding the benefits of such corporate pacts. Daimler already has a development pact with BMW for gas (petrol in Euro-lingo) engines. And the new Mini Cooper uses a 1.4/1.6 litre motor co-developed by Peugeot and BMW, the result of a long standing agreement between the two, so such an agreement is certainly not a thing of fantasy. In fact, Reuters says BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer was open to a trilateral agreement among the companies. The European urge for cleaner, more efficient engines is a powerful one. With local and even national governments passing increasingly strict regulations on automobiles, the need for corporate leadership takes a much more prominent position in the ongoing viability of the auto industry. Developing new engines that accomplish the multitude of goals and requirements of performance, efficiency and cleanliness is a costly proposition, so spreading the cost around offsets the burden. Reuters indicates a new engine plant can cost upward of $1 billion.