At a press conference earlier today a new partnership between Mercedes parent company Daimler and Renault/Nissan was announced that will see all three automakers working together to develop new products, while reducing overall costs. The partnership will see the German, French and Japanese automakers work together on future small car projects, engines and commercial vehicles.
The alliance also includes each automaker taking a share in the other with Daimler taking a 3.1 percent share in Nissan and Renault, while the Japanese and French automakers will each take a 1.55 percent share in Daimler.
Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said the asset sharing was "symbolic" and commented that unlike the unsuccessful deal with Chrysler, this one focuses on shared products first. He even confirmed that, as rumored, the two automakers have been working together for some time already.
Zetsche commented on how the deal will see initial benefits for Daimler in the small car area, while Renault CEO Ghosn said that he expects to save 2 billion Euros over the next five years in cost reductions – apart from the new revenue the partnership will generate.
In terms of specifics, the two automakers will work to co-develop the next generation of the Smart ForTwo and Renault Twingo, both of which are due out in 2013. Both models will be offered with electric engines at launch and new 3-cylinder and 4-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines will be developed for use in both vehicles.
According to a statement released by Nissan, the automakers will also work to develop the new line of premium small cars for Mercedes-Benz – presumably the A-Class and B-Class.
The Mercedes connection will also help Nissan's luxury brand, with Infiniti getting 4-cylinder and 6-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines that are to be used across the product line in the U.S., China and other markets. There's no word if the 4-cylinder will appear in a rumored compact front-drive Infiniti model, but Infiniti does expect the new engines will help the brand grow more quickly. This move will, however, allow costs savings at Daimler due to economies of scale.
As for the commercial vehicle side, Renault will develop a new commercial van for use by Mercedes. There was no mention, however, if Nissan could get any help with its next generation of pickup trucks by using older Mercedes truck technology.
Both automakers have also said they are open to the possibility of more development and product sharing in the years to come.
More: Daimler, Renault/Nissan Alliance Confirmed With Focus on Small Cars, Engines on AutoGuide.com