At the Paris Motor Show, Carlos Ghosn and Dieter Zetsche said that the strategic partnership between the Renault-Nissan Alliance and Daimler AG is maturing as it enters its seventh year in 2016.
One major milestone of the past year includes the EV versions of the new smart fortwo, smart cabrio and smart forfour (Electric energy consumption: 13.1 – 12.9 kWh/100 km; CO2 emissions, combined: 0 g/km). (Earlier post.) These all-new smart and the Renault Twingo were the first vehicles built on a common platform by Daimler and the Alliance.
Launched in 2014, the smart two-seater is built at Daimler’s Hambach plant, France, whereas both four-seater vehicles are produced at Renault’s plant in Novo Mesto, Slovenia. Initial customer reaction to all three models has been highly positive. The project has therefore been further expanded, as announced earlier by the two executives.
EV versions of the smart fortwo, smart cabrio and smart forfour (Electric energy consumption: 13.1 – 12.9 kWh/100 km; CO2 emissions, combined: 0 g/km) debuted at the Paris Motor Show. The new motors are being built at the Renault plant in Cléon, France. The battery of the new smart electric drive is produced by the Daimler subsidiary, Deutsche ACCUmotive, in Kamenz, Germany. This means smart is the first brand to offer its entire portfolio with both a combustion engine and also battery-electric drive.
Another milestone was establishing the first joint production facility COMPAS. Nissan and Daimler broke ground on the US$1-billion Aguascalientes, Mexico, plant in 2015, which will produce next-generation premium compact vehicles for Infiniti as of 2017 and for Mercedes-Benz starting in 2018.
The staffing and equipping of the plant started in May 2016 according to plan. Construction will be completed in 2017, followed by preparation for pilot production of Infiniti vehicles. A new quality evaluation standard will be implemented at the facility to assure the delivery of premium-model quality. The plant is expected to produce more than 230,000 cars a year by 2020. The vehicles will also be produced at other Daimler and Nissan plants in Europe and China.
In 2015, Daimler and Nissan announced the joint development of the first Mercedes-Benz pickup truck. The new pickup will share some of its architecture with the all-new Nissan NP300. It will be engineered and designed by Daimler to meet the specific needs of its customers in Europe, Australia, South Africa and Latin America. The vehicle will have all of Mercedes-Benz’ distinctive characteristics and features. Production of the Mercedes-Benz pickup truck will take place at the Renault plant in Cordoba, Argentina, and at Nissan’s Barcelona plant in Spain, where the Nissan NP300 Frontier and the Renault Alaskan will also be produced. Later this month, Mercedes-Benz will provide further insights into the new pickup truck’s design, strategy and markets.
Joint engine development and production in addition to engine cross-supply projects mark a one of a kind cooperation in the powertrain segment covering engines and transmissions.
The Nissan Decherd plant in Tennessee, USA, is an example of this success with joint engine production. In June 2014, production of 2-liter, 4-cylinder gasoline engines was started for Nissan; operations for Daimler engines followed in October 2014.
Since then, the plant has produced about a quarter of a million engines. Plant expansion was decided upon early in 2016 and is now being implemented. The Nissan Decherd plant has become an important pillar of Daimler’s flexible, global production network (i.e. in addition to serving local demand, the plant exports engines to Mercedes sites in East London, South Africa, as well as machined components to Germany).
When the Daimler-Alliance partnership was launched in April 2010, the scope of the original collaboration was limited to three projects, primarily in Europe. Since then, the combined portfolio shared between the partners is growing in all fields (products, engines and cross-supplying) in Europe, Asia and the Americas.