BMW and PSA Peugeot Citroen of France announced on Feb. 28 that they would invest 100 million euros (US$138 million) in a joint venture to develop hybrid vehicle technology. The investment is "just to start" said Philippe Varin, Chairman PSA Peugeot Citroen's management board, on the eve of the Geneva motor show.
"It will be a key move for creating an European leader in hybrid technologies, it will be also a key move for creating European standards for the industry," he said.
The companies have already collaborated for over a decade in developing engines.
BMW Peugeot Citroen Electrification, in which the two companies will hold equal stakes, will conduct research and development work outside of BMW's home base Munich, Germany, while production will be in Mulhouse, France.
Most of the 400 initial employees to be based in the Munich area will come from the two companies, but new jobs are expected to be created in Mulhouse when the site begins operations in 2014.
"BMW Group and PSA share the same vision of the importance of hybridization in the future," BMW Management Board Chairman Norbert Reithofer said.
"The joint venture will enable us act more strategically and with a single, shared approach. For us, joining forces also means significant economies of scale, shared development costs, using standardized components and a faster development process."
Earlier this month BMW unveiled earlier this month its long-awaited new brand, BMWi, with two new models to be equipped with electric and hybrid drive systems from 2013.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011