According to a report out today, BMW and Hyundai are in the early stages of talks concerning a potential partnership. While the two automakers offer vastly different vehicle lineups, aesthetics, and driving dynamics, the two do share one thing in common: Both are coming off of record years, and have enjoyed great success. The 2012 BMW 3 Series—the German luxury automaker’s top-seller—was updated for the new model year and early returns have been promising. The Hyundai Elantra was named the Car of the Year in January at the Detroit Auto Show. According to the report, chief among matters is collaboration on engine development, in a deal that could be valued at 1-2 billion Euros ($1.3-$2.6 billion US). But is success enough of a rationale?
BMW has partnered with Peugeot among others, and BMW boss Norbert Reithofer said “further co-operation partners are not currently foreseen.” Hyundai was equally dismissive, as a spokesperson said reports of talks between the two giants were “groundless.” It’s also possible the automakers are looking to dispel talk now, as any potential partnership would likely be down the line. Stefan Bratzel, director of the Center of Automotive Management in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany, said such a pairing might be in BMW’s interest. “Even in the premium car industry you will find increased competition over costs. Enormous investments are required and BMW as a small carmaker relative to Volkswagen will be compelled to cooperate simply to save money.”