Reports of BMW and Mercedes partnering to make everything from small cars to major components is like watching a tennis match. Every week seems to bring new statements either confirming or refuting the partnership. This week BMW is the one being cautiously pessimistic with BMW CEO claiming the brand is too valuable to be tied up with Mercedes too overtly. Here ‘s a quote from this week ‘s Automotive News:

> “There are clear limits. The BMW brand, which one study has valued at $24 billion, must not be diluted or the brand identity damaged, ” BMW ‘s Norbert Reithofer told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in an interview.

>No cost savings could possibly be great enough to warrant ruining the core of a brand, he explained.

Last week, Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche pushed for a broader alliance with BMW during an interview with Reuters, saying there were in principle only a few areas where a cooperation was out of the question.

Specifically when it comes to the MINI, BMW is concerned about keeping brand values front and center – notably performance. As we reported last year, BMW looked seriously at building the the next-generation MINI on an Alfa Romeo (Mito) platform. Eventually they scrapped the concept after realizing that they couldn ‘t guarantee the resulting car would look or drive MINI enough.

As a MINI enthusiast it ‘s a great thing to hear that BMW is so concerned about the MINI brand and the final product considering the constant drive towards profits from automakers.

However it is worth noting that BMW is still strongly considering continuing their engine manufacturing relationship with PSA. As with the current MINI petrol engine, the idea is for the BMW to design the engine and build it in cooperation with PSA for greater economies of scale. Of course this will be in addition to offering some range of engines also destined for the next generation 1 Series as we reported last week.