IAA: Daimler and Renault-Nissan Partnership Becomes Global, Will Expand

Started in April 2012 as a Europe-focused project, the collaboration between the Renault-Nissan Alliance and Daimler AG has grown significantly. The CEOs of the two entities met at the Frankfurt Motor Show and said the partnership is advancing quickly towards a global one.

Initially, the collaboration had three pillar projects primarily focused on Europe. However, now the portfolio has increased to ten significant projects from North America to Japan.

“While our initial collaboration focused strongly on European projects, we are now focusing on synergies in all key markets. The largest economies of scale are always global”, Renault-Nissan Chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn said. Daimler CEO and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars Dieter Zetsche was on the same page: “We will continue to seek out new projects together that make sense for all partners and, most importantly, our customers”.

Among the new common projects, the two execs cited the joint production of Mercedes-Benz four-cylinder gasoline engines in Decherd, Tennessee, USA, in a new factory that will start production in mid-2014. The engines that will be produced in Decherd will power both upcoming Mercedes-Benz C-Class which will be built in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and new Infiniti products.

The two groups are also collaborating on developing a new family of shared 3- and 4-cylinder gasoline engines with turbocharging and direct injection.

Ghosn and Zetsche also gave the example of the Infiniti Q50, which is the first Infiniti model to have a powertrain consisting of a diesel engine and automatic transmission from the cooperation with Daimler. Another vehicle resulting from the collaboration that is already on the road is the Mercedes-Benz Citan van.

Future vehicles that will benefit from the partnership will be Infiniti’s compact car (previewed by the Q30 Concept), set to launch in 2015, and of course the Smart/Twingo project.

Production of the new two-seater Smart will begin soon at Daimler’s plant in Hambach (France), while the four-seater Smart and the new Renault Twingo will be built at the Renault plant in Novo Mesto (Slovenia). Market launch is planned for the second half of 2014.

By Dan Mihalascu

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