The rapidly expanding partnership between Germany’s Daimler AG and the Euro-Asian Renault-Nissan Alliance will take another step forward when the partners begin production of a new line of 4-cylinder engines in the U.S. in 2014.
Nissan’s current powertrain plant, in Decherd, Tennessee will eventually be capable of producing as many as 250,000 engines annually for use in both Mercedes-Benz and Infiniti models. That factory, opened in 1997, already produces a mix of 4-, 6- and 8-cylinder engines for both the flagship Nissan and high-line Infiniti brands.
The decision to jointly produce engines in Decherd is the latest expansion of the Daimler/Nissan/Renault partnership initiated almost two years ago, and suggests that there may be further projects to come. When asked whether that might lead to a full-scale merger, Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said no, insisting the step-by-step strategy makes more sense for the three makers.
“We share the office and not the bed, and that works perfectly well,” Zetsche explained during a preview of the Detroit Auto Show.