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Renault-Nissan Hopes to Rekindle Partnership with Daimler

Renault hints that new initiatives will be announced in coming weeks
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The Renault-Nissan alliance is trying to revive its stalled product development partnership with Daimler.

Renault aims to “re-trigger” a collaboration it describes as “well worth it.” Daimler hasn’t said publicly whether it agrees.

A Productive Start

The companies launched their partnership a decade ago. To underscore their commitment, Daimler acquired 3.1% stakes in Renault and Nissan, and the alliance bought 3.1% in Daimler.

As a first project, the companies co-developed a platform shared by the Daimler Smart and Renault Twingo city cars. A dozen other projects followed, including:

  • a family of turbocharged gasoline engines
  • a light-duty pickup truck platform for the Nissan Navara, Renault Alaskan Mercedes X-Class
  • platform sharing for the Renault Kangoo and Mercedes Citan small commercial vans
  • use of Renault powertrains in Daimler Vito commercial vans and small cars and crossovers

By 2014, the partnership was on a roll, having easily surpassed a goal of $4.4 billion in cost savings.

Falling Flat

But the partnership ran out of gas two years later and has added no new programs since then, Automotive News notes.

By 2018, the chiefs who formed the partnership and kept it going were gone. Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche was replaced by Ola Kallenius, who has been preoccupied with fixing his company’s sagging profits. The Renault-Nissan alliance lost its guiding light, Carlos Ghosn, after he was dethroned over charges of financial wrongdoing at Nissan.

Daimler also was drifting into ventures with other carmakers. Early last year, the company and rival BMW agreed to merge their mobility services into a $1.1 billion company named Jurbey. Months later, BMW and Daimler finalized a deal to collaborate on advanced robotic vehicle technologies.

Last year, also Daimler turned its ailing Smart city car business into a 50:50 electric car venture with China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding, which owns nearly 10% of the German company.

Renault’s Hope

Daimler’s newfound partnerships don’t necessarily mean its interest in Renault has waned. On the contrary, Renault CEO Jean-Dominique Senard insists the vibes are strong and getting stronger.

Senard tells reporters he hopes to prove the point soon with an announcement about new initiatives within the next several weeks.

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