Renault-Nissan And Daimler Inching Closer Together

Executives look pleased with the result of the collaboration between Renault-Nissan and Daimler. Or at least they say they are.

Both automotive powerhouses have been working in partnership since 2010. The scope of the original collaboration in 2010 was limited to three projects primarily in Europe.

The combined portfolio shared between Renault-Nissan and Daimler has since quadrupled to 12 projects in Europe, Asia and North America.

“The global scale of our projects ensures that this collaboration will continue to grow, and we expect to remain partners for the long run,” said Renault-Nissan CEO and Chairman Carlos Ghosn. “This partnership has accelerated the time-to-market for significant vehicle launches and has been an obvious strategic advantage for Renault and Nissan. We remain confident about our relationship for the foreseeable future.”

The CEOs’ comments come as the Renault-Nissan Alliance and Daimler get ready to launch their first vehicles co-developed from scratch this autumn: the new Renault Twingo and the new smart fortwo and smart forfour.

“Since its start in 2010, this cooperation has delivered what it has promised, and even more. And that’s how we will continue to work together in the future – with joint projects that establish a win-win situation for all partners involved and create value for our customers worldwide. This is definitely a track record to be continued,” said Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars.

The Renault Twingo went on sale in Europe in September while the smart fortwo and smart forfour will go on sale in November. These city cars are built on a jointly developed rear-wheel-drive architecture; Daimler said this project involved teams from both sides working closely together these last four years.

The three cars, which are all on display at the Paris Motor Show, are independent products with an unmistakable unique brand identity, added Renault.

The smart fortwo is being built at smart’s Hambach plant in France, while the Twingo and the smart forfour are being produced at Renault’s plant in Novo Mesto, Slovenia.

Update on other joint projects

In June 2014, Nissan and Daimler announced plans to jointly develop premium compact vehicles and to jointly manufacture them in Mexico.

Construction of a jointly owned facility in Aguascalientes, in the immediate vicinity of an already existing Nissan plant, will begin in early 2015. Nissan stated production will begin in 2017 with Infiniti models. Daimler added the production of Mercedes-Benz vehicles will follow in 2018. When fully ramped up, the Mexico facility will have production capacity of 300,000 units per year.

The premium compact vehicles are expected to also be produced at other Daimler and Nissan plants around the world, including Europe and China.

Meanwhile, the two companies continue to supply each other with powertrains.

In September, Renault began supplying 1.6 liter diesel engines for both the new Mercedes C-Class and the Mercedes Vito van. Renault is also supplying a 1 liter, 3-cylinder naturally aspirated gasoline engine and a 900cc turbocharged, 3-cylinder gasoline unit for the smart forfour and smart fortwo.

In June, joint production of a 2 liter, turbocharged 4-cylinder gasoline engine began at a newly established Nissan and Daimler powertrain facility in Decherd, Tennessee, USA. The engines produced by the Infiniti Decherd Powertrain Plant will initially be used in European versions of the Infiniti Q50 sports sedan and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The new facility will have installed capacity of 250,000 units per year, once fully ramped-up.

These companies are also collaborating in the van segment. Daimler’s Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation (MFTBC) and Nissan Motor Co. Ltd., have just signed a contract for the supply of finished commercial vans for export. Under the contract, Nissan will supply its “NV350 Urvan” (GVW: 3.5 tons) commercial van to Mitsubishi Fuso which will sell it as ‘Canter Van’ in the Middle East towards the end of 2014.