Most MINI fans are well aware that BMW Group and PSA partnered on the Prince family of engines found in the current R5X generation of MINIs. BMW did the engineering and handles the manufacturing, and PSA ponied up some development dollars and helps with supply chain logistics. In return, PSA got access to the engines for their own cars and BMW got to develop a more efficient engine for the MINI that didn’t involve Daimler. That relationship worked well for both parties, so BMW and PSA had worked out a separate agreement to develop and share hybrid drivetrains in partnership with PSA. This agreement included a joint-venture manufacturing facility and, like the Prince arrangement, PSA would have access to the systems BMW would develop.
TopSpeed.com is reporting that since that hybrid deal was inked, PSA has stepped away from it and formed a separate deal with General Motors to develop hybrid tech. BMW, meanwhile, is calling financial shenanigans, claiming that PSA still owes them their share of the original arrangement — to the tune of €50 Million (about $65M in US dollars). As TopSpeed points out, the european auto industry isn’t in any better a financial situation overall than the US auto industry, so €50M is not a sum of money BMW can just write off, nor is it something PSA is likely to part with easily. PSA has yet to respond to BMW’s demands.
TopSpeed goes on to speculate whether the BMW i3 and i8 cars were specifically part of this PSA joint venture and whether turbulence in that relationship is leading to delays in i-car production. To our knowledge this isn’t going to impact those cars as all the work was done internally at BMW. Much more interesting to us is the impact of the of the hybrid drive destined for the R60 series of MINIs. We would suspect that this deals a serious blow to those plans. Perhaps this makes the case for bringing a diesel Countryman or Paceman to the US.