The plan, yet to be officially confirmed, has been reported in the German media as being under consideration by both companies.
Discussions about the proposed equity swap are apparently ongoing and could lead to much deeper collaborations between the two brands in future. Reports suggest BMW and Mercedes are already talking about jointly developing a platform for future generations of the Mini and A- and B-classes, as well as shared front-drive powertrains.
The Quandt family, which still owns 46 percent of BMW, is said to be cautious over fears the move could be a stepping-stone towards Mercedes taking a controlling interest in the family firm.
The plan to share components (PH News 23rd Oct) is already being implemented as a cost-saving measure. Both marques reported output down by nearly a quarter in February, and the once fiercely independent German companies seem to be sticking together to fight the credit crunch.