By Alison Bell 07 April 2010
The Mercedes-Benz group Daimler has joined the Renault-Nissan alliance in a deal that will see the co-operation on the next generation smart fortwo and Renault Twingo, and the expansion of both the ranges.
As part of Daimler's bid to crack the ever-increasing small car market, the car giants have agreed to take stakes in each other and work together to jointly develop new cars including electric versions which could be good news for Nissan's Sunderland plant. The Sunderland factory will be making the lithium-ion batteries which will power Nissan's and Renault's electric cars and as of 2013, will start manufacturing the Nissan Leaf.
Under the terms of the deal announced today, the two groups will form an equity exchange that will give the Renault-Nissan Alliance a 3.1% stake in Daimler and Daimler a 3.1% in Renault and a 3.1% stake in Nissan. Renault, which is 15% owned by the French Government, has a 43% stake in Nissan.
The three carmakers also plan to develop cleaner and greener diesel and petrol engines and boost the performance of the Smart cars as over recent months, sales of the model have been disappointing for Mercedes. The sharing of a Renault -Nissan Alliance diesel engine and transmission for the Mercedes-Benz Vito will also be part of the collaboration.
Dr Dieter Zetsche, chairman of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars said: “Daimler and the Renault-Nissan Alliance are combining common interests to form a promising foundation for a successful, strategically sound cooperation that is based on a number of very concrete and attractive project cooperations. Our skills complement each other very well. Right away, we are strengthening our competitiveness in the small and compact car segment and are reducing our CO2 footprint – both on a long-term basis. We know that we can make brand-typical products based on shared architectures. The individual brand identities will remain unaffected.”
Carlos Ghosn, chairman and CEO of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, added: “The Renault-Nissan Alliance knows how to work successfully in collaborative partnerships, and this experience is extremely valuable in today’s and even more tomorrow’s global auto industry. This agreement will extend our strategic collaboration and create lasting value for the Renault-Nissan Alliance and Daimler as we work on broadening and strengthening our product offering, efficiently utilizing all available resources and developing the innovative technologies required in the coming decade.”