The BMW Group, DaimlerChrysler AG and General Motors Corporation today signed a “memorandum of understanding” governing the formation of an alliance of equals for the joint development of hybrid drive systems. The alliance says 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. Two-mode hybrid technology further enhances the performance, fuel efficiency and range of conventional hybrid drive vehicles. In city driving and in stop-and-go traffic, the vehicles can be powered either by two electric motors or by the combustion engine, or the two drive systems can be used simultaneously. When traveling at high speeds, for example on rural roads and highways, the two-mode system switches to a different driving mode. The two-mode system provides a number of benefits even when driving at such constant speeds. Because the hybrid drive’s full power is available when climbing steep inclines, passing other cars or hauling a trailer, fuel consumption can be reduced and performance increased even when operating in the second driving mode. In Troy, Michigan, the new “GM, DaimlerChrysler and BMW Hybrid Development Center” will develop the overall modular system and the individual components and oversee system integration and project management. GM and DaimlerChrysler signed binding, definitive agreements on August 22, 2005. BMW Group on September 7 signed a “memorandum of understanding” with the intent to enter into a definitive agreement with GM and DaimlerChrysler later this year.