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Daimler, Nissan-Renault CEOs Tout Cooperation – But Leave Key Question Answered

Alliance goes global as it rapidly expands.

by on Sep.11, 2013

Daimler Chairman Dieter Zetsche and Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn meet in Frankfurt to update the media on their expanding partnership.

In what has become a regular, if recent, tradition, Daimler Chairman Dieter Zetsche and Renault-Nissan Alliance CEO Carlos Ghosn came together at the Frankfurt Motor Show, sharing a stage to describe the increasing cooperation between the three automakers.

But perhaps the biggest question the two executives were expected to face was left unanswered, Zetsche and Ghosn insisting they had not locked down widely anticipated plans to jointly produce luxury cars at a new Nissan plant soon to open in Mexico.

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When the French-Japanese-German partnership was unveiled in April 2010, the makers set to work on three projects largely focused on Europe.  Since then, however, they have brought the count to 10, with others under discussion.

“There is no limit to the cooperation” possible, Ghosn told reporters during the hour-long session, though he did add one caveat.  He called “unacceptable…anything that would lead to confusion” between the various brands.

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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.

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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, TheDetroitBureau.com 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 TheDetroitBureau.com 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.

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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 TheDetroitBureau.com 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?

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First Look: 2012 Mercedes-Benz B-Class

Small cars are big in luxury.

by on Sep.15, 2011

Mercedes-Benz is betting the new version of its B-Class will help it gain ground in the market for small luxury cars.

Small cars are big these days, as the posters for the Frankfurt Motor Show declare.  And while that’s probably no surprise among mainstream brands like Volkswagen, which focused much of its news conference on the micro-sized Up! line, even luxury makers are getting into the downsizing game.

This year’s big European auto show brings out a variety of models designed to show that luxury doesn’t have to be measured by the pounds and inches – er, kilograms and meters – though many of the offerings on display, such as the Audi A2, are glimpses of products yet to come.  Mercedes-Benz, on the other hand, says the time is now with the remake of its compact B-Class people-mover.

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Adopting an all-new chassis and a significantly refined look, the 2012 Mercedes-Benz B-Class is one of roughly a half-dozen new small car models the German luxury icon is planning to bring to market in the next year or so.

The B-Car will start rolling into showrooms by autumn, in fact.  And Mercedes will have a lot riding on it as the maker’s earlier take on the compact luxury class generated only moderate sales, at best when compared to rivals like BMW and Audi.

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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.

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Daimler, Nissan, Renault Project Billions in Savings From New Alliance

Partnership could save Smart brand, help makers expand global presence and product lines.

by on Apr.07, 2010

Among the many projects set in motion under the new alliance is the development of a next-generation Smart fortwo, as well as the addition of a 4-door micro-car.

Daimler AG and the Renault-Nissan Alliance have signed a broad agreement on strategic cooperation that they claim will enable the two groups to collectively save nearly $3 billion, over the next five years, while helping all three makers to expand their global presence.

Among initial efforts, the new partners will cooperate on the development of a new product for Daimler’s struggling Smart car brand; they will also work on new gasoline and electric powertrains.  And a variety of additional cooperative ventures are under study, confirmed Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Daimler AG and his counterpart, Carlos Ghosn, who serves a dual role as chief executive of both Renault and Nissan.

“The lesson from the last crisis in the auto industry, in 2008 and 2009, is that you better be global, that you cannot do it alone, and that you better have friends,” Ghosn said, during a conversation with U.S. journalists.

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As part of the agreement, the two groups will exchange small amounts of equity.  This will give the Renault-Nissan Alliance a 3.1% stake in Daimler, while the German makers get a 3.1% stake in both Renault and Nissan.

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