Shortly after it was reported that Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz have started shared engine production in a Decherd plant in Tennessee, the auto companies behind the brands made a huge announcement. The Renault-Nissan Alliance and Daimler AG will be working on their biggest joint project since they started collaborating four years ago—a new joint production plant in Aguascalientes, Mexico.
The automakers will invest €1 billion ($1.36 billion) to build the facility, the said cost to be divided equally between the two.
The new manufacturing plant will be built in close proximity to a Nissan plant constructed in the area 22 years ago. It will be building premium compact cars for the Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz brands. It is expected to have an annual output of 300,000 units and reach full capacity in 2021. The facility will employ around 5,700 workers.
The first vehicles to roll off the new Mexican plant’s assembly line are Infiniti cars in 2017. The compact cars for Mercedes-Benz will be made the year after.
When Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn and Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche made the announcement, they did not specify which models will be built in Aguascalientes. However, Automobile Magazine reported that the models to come from the Mexican plant will include the next-generation Mercedes-Benz CLA and GLA. For Nissan, the facility will produce a coupe, a sedan to succeed the upcoming Infiniti Q30 and the compact crossover Infiniti QX30.
The upcoming Infiniti Q30, slated to arrive in 2015, will ride on Daimler’s MFA front-wheel-drive platform. This is the same platform that underpins the current Mercedes-Benz A-, B- and CLA-Class vehicles.
According to Automobile Magazine, the MFA platform will be succeeded by a new one currently called the JC1 platform. The JC1 is said to provide as many as 10 body styles, one of which will underpin an Infiniti four-door sedan that the brand will develop as a rival to the Audi A3. Infiniti will also make use of a long-wheelbase seven-seater to serve as the Mercedes-Benz GLB’s sibling.
Though Nissan and Mercedes-Benz cars will share platforms, the automakers say that the vehicles with the same underpinnings will maintain their identities. They will ensure this through close cooperation at each and every stage of development.
The partnership between Renault-Nissan and Daimler started in 2010 with projects intended for the European market. This included a small car platform for Mercedes-Benz’s Smart car. Later this year, the auto giants will begin selling the next-generation Smart and Twingo microcars, which were built on a shared platform. They also collaborated on projects involving delivery vans.
Eventually, the cooperation has expanded in terms of scope and territory. The other projects also involved motors and transmissions, and have reached the Americas and Japan.
Photo credit: nissannews.com