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German newspaper Handelsblatt reported recently that BMW and Fiat had dropped plans for a possible joint venture, citing industry sources, but spokespeople from the two carmakers have confirmed to Reuters that the talks are ongoing and that the situation is simply a lot more complicated than initially thought.
Fiat and BMW first announced a tentative alliance in July of last year.
Fiat is rumored to be interested in using BMW’s compact four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines for its Alfa Romeo brand, while BMW is tipped to be keen on Fiat’s C-evo platform being developed for the replacement of the Alfa Romeo 147 hatchback. If the partnership proves fruitful, there’s even a chance that the two companies will co-develop a brand new platform for the next Fiat Grande Punto, a new Alfa Romeo model, and possibly even the next-generation BMW 1-series.
There are also reports beginning to speak of an alliance that could yield a new range of 100mpg minicars, bearing names not used for decades.
Rumors of the revival of Fiat's Topolino small car brand and BMW's Isetta nameplate have been brewing for months, but as yet little in the way of hard evidence has surfaced. Fiat's Phylla concept has been tipped as a preview of an all-electric car, while Sergio Marchionne, Fiat's CEO, has confirmed the company is working on a new minicar family under the 1950s Topolino brand. BMW, on the other hand, has kept its cards closer to its chest, revealing almost nothing, refusing even to confirm the project is being considered.