Renault-Nissan Alliance and Daimler expand cooperation with new $1.4B plant in Mexico; next-gen compacts for Mercedes-Benz and Infiniti
The Renault-Nissan Alliance and Daimler AG are significantly expanding their cooperation with joint development of premium compact vehicles and joint production in Mexico. Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn and Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche announced today that their companies have agreed to establish a 50:50 joint venture, the business entity that will oversee construction and operation of the new plant in Aguascalientes in north-central Mexico.
The new plant will be built in the immediate vicinity of an already existing Nissan plant and will have an annual capacity of 300,000 vehicles when fully ramped up. Start of production is planned for 2017 with Infiniti models. The production of Mercedes-Benz brand vehicles will follow in 2018.
Daimler and Nissan will share the total investment cost for Aguascalientes of approximately €1 billion (US$1.4 billion). The companies will add almost 5,700 jobs (including engineering, line workers and support staff) by the time the plant reaches full capacity, expected in 2021. In addition, a high localization rate will significantly increase the Mexican supply base.
Joint development of compact premium vehicles and joint production in Aguascalientes together represent one of the largest projects between the Renault-Nissan Alliance and Daimler. It also shows how our collaboration, which began in Europe, has become global in scope.—Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of the Renault-Nissan Alliance
Close collaboration between Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz at every stage of development, from advanced research and design to production, will ensure that vehicles within the scope of the project will clearly differ from each other in terms of product design and specifications.
Nissan has been producing vehicles in Aguascalientes since 1992, and the plant has expanded significantly just in the past year. In November, Nissan opened the first stage of a US$2-billion (€1.5-billion) manufacturing complex in Aguascalientes. This increased Nissan’s total capacity in Mexico to more than 850,000 vehicles annually.
Mexico is already an important market for Daimler. The company has production plants for trucks and buses in Saltillo, Santiago Tianguistenco and Garcia, a parts distribution center in San Luis Potosí and a remanufacturing plant in Toluca. For passenger cars Daimler has a pre-delivery-inspection and a training center.
The French-Japanese-German industrial cooperation of Daimler and the Renault-Nissan Alliance began in April 2010, with three “pillar projects” primarily focused on Europe. Since then, the portfolio has increased to twelve significant projects, including major initiatives from the Americas to Japan.
Infiniti has just begun assembly at the Infiniti Decherd Powertrain Plant, a collaboration between the Alliance and Daimler. The first engine to be assembled at the all-new facility is a 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline 4-cylinder developed by Daimler. The engines will initially be used in European versions of the Infiniti Q50 sports sedan and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class assembled in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The new facility will have installed capacity of 250,000 units per year once full ramp-up is achieved.
Renault and Daimler are also jointly developing a new direct-injection turbocharged small gasoline engine family. The new engines will feature advanced technology in a compact package and will offer a significant improvement in fuel economy, as well as low emissions. The new engines will debut in Daimler, Renault and Nissan vehicles in 2016.
Nissan, Daimler and Ford are also working on the development of a joint fuel cell stack and system to accelerate the market-readiness of fuel-cell electric vehicles by the end of the decade.
Later this year, the Alliance and Daimler will start selling the next-generation smart and Twingo city cars, developed on a shared platform, the Twingo and the four-seater smart being produced at the Renault plant in Novo Mesto, Slovenia, the two-seater smart in Hambach, France.