Yes, that mysterious BMW-Toyota sports car joint production is still happening. Now we know who might be building it.
One of the most interesting car companies in the world is one that isn’t: Magna-Steyr, the Austrian super contractor known for building everything from ultra-tough offroaders to the Aston Martin Rapide. Now they may be gearing up to make the next Toyota Supra, if that’s indeed what they call this thing.
To recap: Since 2012 BMW and Toyota have been said to be jointly developing some kind of new sports car, or rather a sports car platform. All other details, from pricing to powertrain to size, remain shrouded in secrecy.
As for its possible builder, Magna-Steyr, they aren’t a car brand but they are a company that makes cars. Located in Graz, Austria, they design and build cars, trucks, ultracompacts, and sports cars for other companies too busy to make small runs of high-quality, low-volume vehicles. Check out Magna-Steyr’s list of credits and you’ll see what I mean.
Local paper the Kleine Zeitung reports that Magna-Steyr will be ending their production run of BMW’s ugly Mini Paceman and Countryman. In their stead, according to the Kleine Zeitung, will be BMW’s next sports car.
And that’s supposed to be the partner project with Toyota to make a new Supra, as Automotive News Europe dutifully reports. That’s even though demand for roadsters and sports cars is dwindling as SUVs take over the universe.
Demand for two-seaters is largely dormant, which prompted BMW to ax the Mini Coupe and Roadster, along with the Paceman. Z4 sales fell 47 percent in the first quarter and the model accounts for just three-tenths of 1 percent of BMW brand’s volume.
When asked then by Automotive News Europe whether it was still financially worth competing in the roadster segment, BMW CEO Harald Krueger said the company’s cooperation with Toyota would help. “BMW has a long roadster tradition,” he said. “We will occupy the segment once more. It’s not big, but it’s important for the strength of the brand.”
The Kleine Zeitung expects production for the BMW Z4 successor to start in 2018, with the Toyota Supra partner car to get going a few months later, not so drastically different from what Mazda and Fiat did with the new Miata and 124 Spider, or what Toyota and Subaru did with the GT86/FR-S/BRZ.