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Over the last few years, it feels like BMW has looked at its lineup and decided to offer a vehicle in every possible segment that it can find, no matter how small. The company is finally showing some restraint, though, at least when it comes to the high performance M division. For example, don't expect to see an M4 Gran Coupe at your local BMW dealer in the future.
M GmbH sales chief Jörg Bartels told Cars Guide in Australia, "It was definitely considered, but there is no plan to build an M4 Gran Coupe." The sport sedan just wouldn't make financial sense, he said. BMW already builds the M3 and M4 at separate factories, adding a third for such a niche model would be too much. Plus, the M3 already fills out the segment.
If you wanted an M model with a bit more storage space in the back, Bartels dashed those dreams, as well. He said that there isn't an M3 Gran Turismo hatchback in the pipeline, either.
For over a year now, we've been hearing about a potential partnership between Toyota and BMW on everything from sports cars to lithium-ion batteries, but one of the first cooperative projects between these two automakers could bring Toyota's hydrogen fuel cell technology to a BMW vehicle. Reuters is reporting that an announcement is likely to be made as soon as later this week regarding a BMW fuel cell vehicle that could be in production by 2020 with a prototype running around by 2015.
The last we heard of Toyota's fuel cell technology, it was in the FCV-R Concept that we saw at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show, but there is no word how far along in development this system is. If it does come to fruition, such a vehicle for BMW would build on the automaker's commitment to hydrogen that started with the Hydrogen 7, which unlike a fuel cell vehicle, simply ran on hydrogen fuel rather than converting it to electricity for use in motors. We're definitely interested where this Toyota/BMW tie up could be headed.
BMW may be set to expand its US operations with a new engine plant, Bloomberg reports. The Bavarian automaker already has its Spartanburg, SC factory which builds the company's X3, X5 and X6 crossovers. According to the story, Mexico is also under consideration for the BMW engine factory, with the report claiming a final decision will be made in 2014.
"Establishing local motor manufacturing abroad is more complex than assembling cars, but it's a logical step for them to eventually start making engines in markets where they're expanding vehicle production," Juergen Pieper, an analyst for Bankhaus Metzler tells Bloomberg. Building engines in the US or Mexico would save BMW from having to ship engines for some of its most popular models across the Atlantic.
BMW, for its part, hasn't said anything concrete. Spokesman Mathias Schmidt is quoted in the story saying, "As part of our long-term growth strategy, we're frequently looking at different countries for possible locations of future production facilities. No decisions have been made yet, though, for an additional plant."