In the face of some intense skepticism among German shareholders, Daimler AG CEO Dieter Zetsche defended the company’s new alliance with Renault-Nissan, during the German maker’s boisterous annual meeting.
The deal, announced last week, involves cooperation on a range of new vehicles – including Daimler’s next-generation Smart cars – engines and other components. There is also a small equity swap designed, Zetsche said at the time, to underscore the seriousness of the new partnership.
“The cooperation agreed upon with Renault-Nissan is an important step for the Group on the way to establish a highly efficient business system,” Zetsche told more than 5,000 restless shareholders meeting in Berlin.
The alliance with Renault will enhance Smart’s position as a youthful brand offering, but also assist with models like the Mercedes-Benz A- and B-Class, said Zetsche, insisting there is a growing market for practical and attractive urban vehicles.