September 13, 2005 That’s not thunder you can hear in the distance, it’s just a few global automotive giants getting together in a spirit of cooperation that might have some far-reaching consequences beyond the far-reaching consequences being announced here. In a remarkable move, the BMW Group, DaimlerChrysler and General Motors Corporation have signed a “memorandum of understanding” governing the formation of an alliance of equals for the joint development of automotive hybrid drive systems. The three global automakers are cooperating in order to pool their expertise to accelerate the development of efficient hybrid drive systems. The objective is to jointly develop a two-mode hybrid drive system that reduces fuel consumption while not compromising vehicle capability. While the base two-mode hybrid design will be common, each company will individually integrate the hybrid system into the design and manufacturing of vehicles in accordance with their brand specific requirements. BMW is effectively joining the GM-DaimlerChrysler alliance announced last December (story details two-mode hybrid with diagrams).