Renault, Nissan & Daimler
The Renault-Nissan Alliance was established in 1999, as the French and the Japanese companies realized that cooperation would be more beneficial than competition.
In 2001, the Renault Clio went into production at the Nissan plant in Aguascalientes, Mexico. In 2002, the Nissan March went on sale in Japan, the first car based on a platform common to Renault and Nissan (B-platform).
Since then, the Alliance has continued on, with the two automakers sharing capabilities and technologies.
In 2010, Daimler entered the picture, as it began to work with the Alliance on programs.
Last fall, the Renault Twingo and the Daimler smart fortwo and fourfour were introduced; the vehicles were jointly developed by the companies.
A few months earlier, Nissan and Daimler announced they’d be building a plant in Aguascalientes for a jointly developed premium compact vehicle. The Infiniti is to launch in 2017 and the Mercedes in 2018.
And speaking of Infiniti and Mercedes: this past June, joint production of a 2-liter, turbocharged 4-cylinder gasoline engine began at a newly established Nissan and Daimler powertrain facility in Decherd, Tennessee. Initial application: European versions of the Infiniti Q50 sports sedan and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
And speaking of engines, Renault is supplying a 1.6-liter diesel that’s used in the C-Class as well as a 1-liter and 900-cc engines for the smart forfour and fortwo
Meanwhile, the two companies continue to supply each other with powertrains. In September, Renault began supplying 1.6-liter diesel engines for both the new Mercedes C-Class and the Mercedes Vito van. Renault is also supplying a 1-liter, 3-cylinder naturally aspirated gasoline engine and a 900cc turbocharged, 3-cylinder gasoline unit for the smart forfour and smart fortwo.
In addition to which, Nissan is supplying Daimler’s Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation with NV350 commercial vans.
And speaking of trucks, last week Daimler and the Renault-Nissan Alliance announced that Nissan and Daimler will be developing a new pickup truck for Mercedes. The truck will be engineered and designed by Daimler, yet share some of the architecture of the Nissan NP300 midsize pickup.
The Nissan NP300 is produced in a Renault plant in Cordoba, Argentina. The Mercedes truck will be built there, too.
In addition to which, Renault and Nissan are already at work developing a truck for Renault, also using NP300 as a basis. This one-ton truck will go into production next year at Nissan’s plant in Cuernavaca, Mexico.
Then all three trucks will be built at the plant in Argentina, as well as at a Nissan plant in Barcelona, Spain.
This is not about trucks. This is about the global OEMs working together in a rather deep way. It is often said that the powertrain is the key differentiator between one automotive company and another, yet these companies are sharing. And what is more distinctive about a company that the pickup it puts on the market? Yet here we have the three companies collaborating on three different but genetically related pickups.
The companies are amortizing engineering costs. The companies are amortizing production costs.
While Renault and Nissan have cross-ownership in their association, Daimler is simply working with the companies on more than a dozen projects.
Clearly, this sort of working together has benefits not only to the manufacturers, but presumably to the customers, as well.
Ram Truck chief exterior designer Joe Dehner talks about how they’ve developed the all-new pickup. “We’ve been building trucks for over 100 years,” he says. “Best I could come up with is that this is our 15th-generation truck.”
Mercedes has been putting diesels in vehicles since 1926. It has been offering them in the U.S. since 1949. And 2013 is seeing a range of offerings, including in its popular GLK SUV.
GM gives its mid-size pickup customers what they’ve been clamoring for, a clean and quiet, high-torque, fuel-efficient diesel.