The Renault-Nissan Alliance and Daimler AG plans to expand their five-year strategic cooperation into the pickup truck segment.
The two automakers plan to develop a 1-ton pickup truck for Mercedes-Benz.
Mercedes-Benz announced late last month it planned to develop a luxury pickup truck and indicated the project would be put on the fast track. The alliance with Renault-Nissan opens the door to moving the project forward, according to Daimler Chief Executive Officer Dieter Zetsche, who indicated last week in Berlin the new pickup truck would be ready before the end of the decade.
The Mercedes-Benz pickup will share some of the architecture with the all-new Nissan NP300, but it will be engineered and designed by Daimler to meet the specific needs of its customers. The vehicle will have all of Mercedes-Benz’ distinctive characteristics and features.
The pickup will feature a double cab and will be targeted both at personal-use and commercial customers. The target markets for the truck are Europe, Australia, South Africa and Latin America.
“Mercedes-Benz is the fastest growing premium brand in the world,” Zetsche said. “Entering the rapidly growing segment of midsize pickups is an important step in continuing our global growth path. Thanks to our well-established partnership with the Renault-Nissan Alliance, we are able to drastically reduce the time and cost to enter this key segment.”
Nissan is the world’s second-biggest 1-ton pickup truck maker and has been building and selling them for more than 80 years. Since 1933, more than 14 million Nissan 1-ton pickup trucks have been used to transport people and cargo, sometimes in the toughest circumstances. The NP300, sold under the name NP300 Navara and NP300 Frontier (depending on the market), was launched in June 2014 and is currently produced in Thailand and Mexico.
(Mercedes-Benz jumping into the pickup truck market. For more, Click Here.)
Nissan and Renault are already developing a 1-ton pickup truck for Renault, which will also share some common architecture with the Nissan NP300. The truck, which will have a distinctive Renault design, is Renault’s first 1-ton pickup truck. Production of Renault’s 1-ton truck will begin in 2016 at Nissan’s plant in Cuernavaca, Mexico. The 1-ton pickup will mark Renault’s second entry into the pickup segment after the launch of a half-ton pickup later this year.
The Mercedes-Benz 1-ton pickup truck will be built by Nissan in the plant in Cordoba, Argentina, along with the Nissan NP300 and the Renault 1-ton truck, for Latin America. The three trucks will also be built in the Nissan plant in Barcelona, Spain, for other markets, excluding North America. Production of the trucks at the two plants will start by the end of the decade.
(Click Here for details about Nissan’s need for additional production capacity.)
The Barcelona plant will produce about 120,000 vehicles annually for the three partners, while the Cordoba plant will produce nearly 70,000 vehicles a year. A high parts localization rate is expected to expand the supply bases in Spain and Argentina significantly.
“Thanks to our cooperation with Daimler on this project, we will be able to share the cost of investment at the Cordoba plant, while at the same time open up new markets in the Latin American region for the Renault-Nissan Alliance,” said Carlos Ghosn, Renault-Nissan chairman and CEO. “This project will also allow us to optimize production capacity at the Barcelona plant and enhance our competitiveness in an important segment.”
(To see more about Daimler extending Zetsche’s contract to 2019, Click Here.)
The joint pickup project is the latest milestone in the strategic partnership between Daimler and the Renault-Nissan Alliance, which celebrates its fifth anniversary this month. The strategic cooperation among the three companies began on April 10, 2010. At the time, the scope of the collaboration was limited to three projects primarily focused on Europe. Since then, the combined portfolio shared between Renault-Nissan and Daimler has more than quadrupled to 13 projects in Europe, Asia and the Americas.
“After five years of cooperation between Daimler and Renault-Nissan, my conclusion is by all means positive,” Zetsche said. “We have identified and launched many joint projects that create benefits for all partners involved.”
“This cooperation is one of the most productive in the auto industry, enabling all partners to increase economies of scale while keeping our brands and products distinct,” Ghosn said.