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Daimler, Renault/Nissan Could be Open to Alliance with Fiat Chrysler

Six years in, Daimler and Renault/Nissan continue to expand their partnership.

by on Sep.16, 2015

Daimler's Dieter Zetsche and Renault/Nissan's Carlos Ghosn brief reporters on their growing alliance during a meeting in Frankfurt.

Increasingly frustrated in his bid to merger with General Motors, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne might consider an alternative in his bid for better economies of scale.

At a media briefing called to discuss the results of their own, six-year partnership, Daimler AG Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche and Renault/Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said they would be open to the possibilities of adding FCA to their successful alliance.

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“Any single opportunity we have in front of us…we will entertain,” said Renault/Nissan’s Ghosn.


Daimler, Nissan and Renault Expand Global Alliance

“Nothing is off-limits” – except a full merger.

by on Sep.28, 2012

Daimler Chairman Dieter Zeetsche and Renault/Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn celebrate the expansion of their 30-month-old alliance.

Just about anything is possible as Daimler, Renault and Nissan announce yet another big expansion of their global alliance – except for the possibility of a full-out merger, the CEOs of the three makers said during a joint Paris Motor Show news conference.

The partners have rapidly added a wide range of new projects since first revealing a limited series of joint ventures in 2010. The latest move will see Daimler, Renault and Nissan jointly developing a new generation of compact engines while also sharing transmissions.

Meanwhile, Daimler could announce an even more expansive program before year-end that would have it share in a new assembly complex Nissan has already announced for Mexico.

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“Over time, we have built up so much trust we are working like hand and glove,” declared Daimler Chairman and CEO Dieter Zetsche, sitting alongside Carlos Ghosn, the CEO of both Nissan and Renault, who expressed similarly upbeat sentiments about an alliance the partners expect to save billions of dollars in the coming years – while also helping the makers rush new product to market at a faster pace.


Mercedes Near Decision on Sharing Mexican Plant with Nissan

“Potential pros and cons,” says Zetsche.

by on Sep.28, 2012

Zetsche is apparently leaning towards sharing a Mexican assembly plant with Nissan.

Daimler AG will “probably” announce by year-end a decision on where it will build a new North American assembly plant, Chairman Dieter Zetsche tells, and there is a strong possibility that the new factory will be part of a planned mega-complex alliance partner Nissan has already committed to in Mexico.

“We are investigating the potential of our plants operating together,” said Zetsche, confirming a story first reported by earlier this year.

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Daimler needs more capacity to supply North America and other markets , having reached the limits of what it thinks can be done out of its existing Mercedes-Benz assembly plant near Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Until now, Zetsche had only confirmed that it was looking at various sites in the U.S., Canada and the U.S.


Next Infiniti G-Cars to Share Mercedes Platform

But Mercedes will use Nissan/Infiniti engines.

by on Apr.18, 2012

A future version of Infiniti G IPL could deliver as much as 530 horsepower.

The already torrid relationship between Daimler AG and the Renault-Nissan Alliance continues to heat up.  Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz brand is now expected to provide the underpinnings for the Euro-Asian alliance’s next-generation Infiniti G cars.

According to new reports, Infiniti will share the same platform as the next-generation Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The new model will be slightly larger than the current Infiniti G, and will be offered with more body and powertrain variations.

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That is expected to include a coupe and a sedan, while powertrain options are likely to offer buyers a hybrid, possibly a diesel, and even a 530-horsepower V-6, according to a report in Motor Trend magazine quoting Japanese sources.


Mercedes Expecting to Join Nissan in New Mexican Assembly Complex

Next step in partnership would produce Mercedes and Infiniti models for the Americas.

by on Jan.26, 2012

Mercedes-Benz revealed this early A-Class Concept at the 2011 NY Auto Show.

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Nissan and Daimler are looking to take a significant step forward in their rapidly expanding partnership – the German maker expecting to set up a new plant that would be located adjacent to the new Nissan assembly complex going into Aguascalientes, Mexico, has learned.

The Daimler plant would be used to produce a wide range of small luxury products for both the German maker’s Mercedes-Benz brand and for Nissan’s Infiniti division, such as the Mercedes A-Class and Infiniti Etherea  – sources telling that these could include both conventionally powered and electrified offerings designed to help both makers improve their corporate fuel economy averages.

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Officially, neither Daimler nor the Renault/Nissan Alliance would discuss the plan, though a spokesperson for the German company referred to a recent comment by CEO Dieter Zetsche in which he confirmed that further joint ventures are under study.  The two makers decided to launch a limited series of efforts in 2010 and have since announced several additional joint ventures including one revealed early this month in which they will produce a new line of four-cylinder engines at the Nissan powertrain plant in Decherd, Tennessee.


Daimler Planning New North American Plant

Maker looking at options in U.S. and Mexico.

by on Jan.25, 2012

The new Mercedes plant would likely produce a version of the next-gen A-Class - and possibly the Infiniti Etherea, as well.

Hoping to gain a leg up on its luxury market rivals, Daimler AG is looking at adding at least two more plants to its global production network – one in China and the other some place in North America.

The new plants could be a critical step in regaining the global sales lead as Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz brand battles key rivals BMW and Volkswagen’s Audi brand.  Mercedes narrowly lost the U.S. sales crown to the Bavarians in 2011.

Mercedes officials told Germany’s Manager Magazin the plan is to double the brand’s worldwide output to 2.7 million by 2020.  It sold 1.26 million Mercedes-badged vehicles in 2011, about 120,000 less than BMW. Significantly, the publication said Daimler is aiming for a 10% operating margin by the end of this decade.

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One of the questions is hoping to resolve is what role Nissan will play in the selection and operation of a new Mercedes plant in North America.  Could Daimler be looking at adding production capacity of its own alongside a new Nissan facility newly announced for Mexico?


Daimler Chief Zetsche Facing Involuntary Manslaughter Probe

Exec was not behind wheel when accident occurred.

by on Sep.16, 2011

Daimler Chief Dieter Zetsche (l), with Nissan/Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn at the Frankfurt Motor Show this week.

Daimler AG Chief Executive Officer Dieter Zetsche is facing an involuntary manslaughter probe over the death of an engineer at a company test track in northern Germany, Stuttgarter Zeitung has reported.

The possible charges are considered unusual in that Zetsche was Zetsche was not behind the wheel of the car that crashed and, Daimler AG said in a statement, one court has already cleared the executive, of any charges of gross negligence.

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“In legal proceedings against the perpetrator of the accident before the Papenburg District Court on July 12, both the judge and the public prosecutor explicitly stated that the company Daimler, and consequently also the Chairman of the Board of Management, were in no way to blame,” the company said Friday.


Mercedes Will Provide Platform for New Infiniti Luxury Car

Daimler ramps up increasingly successful partnership with Renault-Nissan alliance.

by on Sep.14, 2011

Infiniti will use a Mercedes-Benz platform when it goes to production with a compact luxury car based on the striking Etherea concept vehicle.

The all-new Mercedes-Benz B-Class platform will be shared with Infiniti which plans to use it as the foundation for a compact luxury offering based on the popular Etherea concept car.

That’s the latest move to emerge from a rapidly expanding alliance between Mercedes’ parent Daimler AG and erstwhile rivals Nissan and Renault, which have made a successful go of their own Euro-Asian alliance.

In an unusual joint appearance, Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche and Renault-Nissan Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn provided an update on their 18-month-old strategic partnership and gave a sense of where they hope to go next.

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The three companies will soon begin sharing powertrains, as well as an assortment of vehicle platforms.   But among other things, they are looking at the possibility of pooling efforts on the development of zero-emissions vehicles, the two CEOs suggested.

“We probably haven’t seen as much change in our industry in decades as we have to face now,” said Zetsche in explaining why Daimler, Nissan and Renault have chosen to work together.  So, he added, “By doing (things) together in certain areas we will get even stronger.”

Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche and his Nissan-Renault counterpart Carlos Ghosn during a Frankfurt Motor Show news conference.


Struggling Smart to Get Nissan-Derived 5-Door – Updated

New model to be assembled at Nissan plant in U.S.

by on Oct.06, 2010

Smart will begin selling a Nissan-derived 5-door in late 2011.

Desperately struggling to reverse crashing sales, Smart USA has inked a memo of understanding with Japan’s Nissan to provide a new 5-door model to the Smart microcar line-up.

The first clear product to emerge from a new partnership between Daimler and the Euro-Asian Renault-Nissan Alliance, the B-segment hatchback will reach the U.S. market by the fourth quarter of 2011, the partners say.

While specifics remain to be released, inside sources tell the Smart hatchback will be based on a next-generation platform and not the current B-segment Nissan, the Versa.

In an unusual move, this particular memorandum of understanding specifically links Smart USA and Nissan, though insiders report a version of the new product will very likely show up in other Smart dealerships around the world at some point.

Significantly, those sources tell, the two-row, 5-seat Smart will be produced in the United States, rather than in France, where the maker’s current fortwo model is produced. While they won’t discuss specific production details it appears to point to Nissan’s Smyrna plant, since the Japanese maker’s other American facility focuses largely on trucks and larger models.

“The new vehicle will expand smart USA’s product lineup, offering five-seat capacity while maintaining the core principles of efficiency and conservation,” said Jill Lajdziak, president of Smart USA.

Smart needs to expand, and fast.

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After achieving a surprisingly strong launch in 2008 – which was timed serendipitously to coincide with the record run-up in U.S. fuel prices – things have taken a severe turn for the worse.  In September 2010, the maker’s American distributor reported selling only 422 of the little fortwo 2-seaters, down 48% from year-earlier results – which were already sharply down.  For the first nine months of 2010 Smart has sold just 4,770 cars, a 61.5% decline despite offering massive incentives.