Tracing your way through the automotive industry today is nearly impossible with American cars made in Mexico, Canada, Australia and elsewhere; Japanese cars made here in the U.S.; and German cars made just about everywhere. And to make it even worse: most of them use the same parts suppliers. So the latest word that BMW is considering a partnership with Toyota for their small car platforms shouldn't really be that surprising.
But for some reason, it is. The idea of a Toyota iQ underpinning BMW's upcoming Isetta city-car seems almost as foreign as the idea of a Mini Coupe-platformed Toyota - but those are both rumored to be in the works.
Neither BMW nor Toyota have confirmed the reports, but many outlets are giving the news credence. As outlandish as the cooperation sounds at first blush, there is a lot in the deal that makes sense - both companies need to flesh out their small-car presence, and both rely heavily on the U.S. for their sales volumes.
If the BMW-Toyota deal does come to life, it is expected to bear fruit sometime around 2012 or 2013, with the Mini Coupe and Roadster potentially headed for production in 2011 if they receive a warm welcome at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show.
This isn't the first time a luxury carmaker has tapped the iQ for its small-car duties, however. Aston Martin is already at work building its own version of the iQ, called the Cygnet.
Taking on Aston Martin styling and interior comforts, the Cygnet is still expected to be all iQ underneath, right down to the fuel-sipping powerplant. To keep the Cygnet from damaging the brand's exclusivity, however, Aston Martin will only sell the minicar to existing Aston owners.