One of the first things I wrote in this game was a feature linking all car manufacturers to each other through their joint ventures or commercial ties. A sort of ‘six degrees of Kevin Bacon’ but for auto makers, taking in all major car manufacturers until it looped back to where it started.
I know. They were simpler times. We had to make our own entertainment.
Anyway, it wasn’t straightforward. ‘Using Bosch engine management like everybody else’ didn’t count as a link. Something like ‘Ford sells engines to Caterham, which also uses engines from MG Rover, which is owned by BMW…’ was tenuous yet acceptable. Convoluted but possible.
Today, it wouldn’t be nearly so time-consuming or complex, as our recent feature (Analysis: ‘Why car makers are casting aside old rivalries) makes clear.
New tech is driving car makers together. “They’re having to get serious about electric vehicles, but EVs are a difficult business case,” an analyst from HIS Markit told us.
So companies that wouldn’t otherwise entertain sharing a dashboard button are spreading the burden of development.
Toyota, Subaru, Suzuki, Daihatsu and Mazda are all working together on electric platforms, Ford has joined VW in doing similar, and BMW and Jaguar Land Rover are developing drive units together. Those are just some of the headline tie-ins.