All the green sheet metal on display at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show proves most manufacturers are at least beginning to think of tackling the pesky end of the petroleum problem. Back in March, a company called EDAG showed its own solution to the energy and climate debacle at the Geneva Motor Show: the Light Car – Open Source. If you’ve spent any time in the software realm, odds are you know open source generally means a free platform for developers to expand upon. In EDAG’s case, the company’s car is just that: a joint project of several innovative companies all focused on the next step in automobile evolution.
While the Light Car – Open Source boasts a full array of lightweight materials, an innovative drivetrain and interesting lighting, EDAG isn’t the first group to partner up for the good of motoring. Nearly every manufacturer has formed partnerships in the past. Familiar names like Chrysler, General Motors, Hyundai, Ford and Nissan have all jumped into bed with fellow carmakers at least once in their history to produce everything from engines and transmissions to full-on vehicles — with mixed results.
Rumors have been buzzing around the Internet for months now about a supposed collaboration between Toyota and Subaru. Code-named the 086A, the car should be an inexpensive front-engine, rear-wheel-drive car with more than a little pep in its step. While recent financial woes have caused the project to be an on-again, off-again affair, both companies now say the car is inching closer to reality. If and when we do see the car in the flesh, expect to see similar iterations on both Subaru and Toyota lots.
Chrysler is renowned for its occasionally successful mash-ups with companies from around the globe. The Pentastar logo did a little badge swapping with Mitsubishi back in the ’80s, wherein Mitsubishi Starions were sold under the Chrysler and Dodge Conquest name here in the States. Fast forward a few decades, and America’s ailing automaker recently struck a deal with Nissan to produce the Japanese company’s Titan pickup truck. Unfortunately for both parties, Chrysler’s recent stint in bankruptcy court means we won’t be seeing any Nissan products with Hemis under the hood any time soon.
With less and less consumer cash swirling around the global marketplace, it wouldn’t surprise us to see more open-source-type collaborations between rivals soon. While the thought of a Ford-engined, Chevrolet-transmissioned, Chrysler-bodied vehicle may sound like sacrilege to some, it may be the only way for manufacturers to cut costs and tackle fuel-saving innovations in one throw.