Meeting in Brussels, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Dr Dieter Zetsche, and Chairman and CEO of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, Carlos Ghosn, announced an equity exchange that will give Renault and Nissan each a 1.55 percent stake in Daimler and Daimler a 3.1 percent stake in Renault and 3.1 percent in Nissan.
But the exchange is largely symbolic, with the real effects to be seen in the collaboration and sharing between the manufacturers.
Renault-Nissan and Daimler will share a common architecture for new small vehicles. The successor to the smart fortwo, a new four-seat smart and the next-generation Renault Twingo will all be engineered off a jointly developed rear-wheel drive platform.
The three models will be produced in plants in France and Slovenia and each will offer an electric variant from launch beginning in 2013.
Extensive powertrain sharing was a focus of the new alliance with fuel-efficient petrol and diesel engines high on the priority list.
Renault-Nissan will provide Daimler three- and four-cylinder petrol and diesel units for future premium compact cars, and in return Daimler will provide four- and six-cylinder petrol and diesel engines for larger Infiniti vehicles.
Renault, Nissan and Daimler will also collaborate on future petrol and diesel engines in a move that Renault says will not jeopardise the “clear distinctiveness of the individual respective brand and product identities, while at the same time providing a highly competitive cost structure”.
Mercedes-Benz will add an entry-level van to its line-up in 2012. It will be based on the Renault Kangoo and built in the same factory in Maubeuge, France. Renualt-Nissan will also share transmissions and a small diesel engine with Daimler for the mid-sized Mercedes-Benz Vito.
Both groups have stated their intentions of making the cooperation a long-term one, with plans already in place for future collaborative works.
Daimler and Nissan are looking at possible module and component sharing opportunities for Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz vehicles in the US, Japan and China. Renault, Nissan and Daimler are also investigating co-development of battery and electric vehicle technologies.
Dr Zetsche expressed his enthusiasm for a number of “very concrete and attractive project cooperations” between Renault-Nissan and his company.
“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,” Dr Zetsche said.
Mr Ghosn was similarly buoyed by the agreement:
“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,” he said.