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BMW, Mercedes Join Forces on RWD Hybrid Technology

In a move to cut research costs, German automakers BMW and DaimlerChrysler announced an expansion of their partnership on hybrid technology. The two announced they are working on a new hybrid system for rear-wheel-drive premium cars. For Daimler Chrysler, that means the Mercedes-Benz nameplate. For BMW, well, BMW.

Why would two longtime rivals join forces on such a project? Cost. Hybrid technology has proved extremely expensive not only to implement — the higher cost going to the consumer — but also in R&D. The two sides promise that each product will maintain its brand identity and driving feel.

We’re just giddy there’s a plan for rear-wheel-drive hybrids. Imagine a BMW 3 Series hybrid, or a green Mercedes S-Class. At that economy of scale, the price will also be easier for buyers to swallow. There’s no word on when such vehicles will hit the road, but the companies began their hybrid collaboration in 2005, and this is the first time a concrete plan to bring vehicles to market has been announced.

Source: BMW

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Former managing editor David Thomas has a thing for wagons and owns a 2010 Subaru Outback and a 2005 Volkswagen Passat wagon. Email David Thomas

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