BMW has been seeking a partner to co-develop a brand new platform for its future small cars for the past couple of years, with rival automakers like Mercedes-Benz and Fiat most recently linked to the German luxury automaker.

While nothing substantial has materialized on those fronts, the vice president of the MINI brand, Wolfgang Armbrecht, has revealed that BMW is still open to the idea of co-developing its next-generation MINI platform with another automaker.

"The door is still open," Armbrech told reporters at last week's 2010 Detroit Auto Show. "Today in the car business, you have to create fascinating cars. But, on the other hand, you have to be realistic as far as economics are concerned."

Such a deal could possibly save BMW and its potential partner billions of dollars in development costs.

BMW had most recently been in talks with Fiat over the development of a new platform that could be used for future MINI and Alfa Romeo models, however, those talks came to an end last month. According to Armbrech, BMW is still investigating other possibilities.

[Automotive News, sub req'd]