New Toyota Supra and BMW Z5 to be built Austria

Local media report insists Magna will build the joint-venture rear-drive convertible

Toyota’s FT1 concept, which showcases the firm’s new Supra

Toyota’s FT1 concept, which showcases the firm’s new Supra

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A local newspaper in Austria is reporting that Magna-Steyr will build the replacement for the BMW Z4 and Toyota’s born-again Supra.

About 60,000 of the two jointly developed cars will start production at Magna’s Graz, Austria, production facilities in 2018, Klien Zeitung reported.

While BMW and Toyota have not yet returned calls on the subject, the report insists BMW sources said the shared-architecture sports cars would take the place of two MINI models at Graz.

The Toyota version will see the rebirth of the Supra badge, while the BMW, code-named G29 and expected to be called the Z5, will replace the Z4 and will revert to its original, lighter, soft-top body style.

A coupe version of the BMW is in the works, along with a range that includes both four- and six-cylinder power, plus a race-bred hybrid for extra performance.

The two companies began their joint-venture associations in 2011, and their projects include hydrogen fuel cells, plug-in hybrid and battery-electric technology and a front-drive, cheap small car architecture.

BMW has, in the past, been ambiguous about whether it would replace the Z4, which it launched in 2009. It cited falling sales of two-door coupes and convertibles worldwide for refusing to confirm the model’s third generation, though the second-generation of the car had strayed from the original soft top’s sharper focus to become a heavier mini grand tourer, with a folding hard top roof.

Today, the Z4 is the slowest selling BMW model, delivering 0.3 percent of its 2015 volume, but the tie-up with Toyota has slashed the development costs of its replacement while upping the tempo on technology.

“We will occupy the segment once more,” BMW CEO Harald Krueger said. “It’s not big, but it’s important for the strength of the brand. BMW has a long roadster tradition.”

The MINI Paceman has been cancelled and won’t be replaced (and neither will the Coupe or the Roadster), while the production of the Countryman has been moved to the independent VDL Nedcar plant in The Netherlands.

The Magna plant in Graz, which also builds the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen, built 103,904 cars last year, will also build a model for Jaguar next year.

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