Mercedes Benz are retaliating for being beaten in the luxury car market for the first time by BMW in the States – by taking their engine production there in a collaboration with Nissan and Renault which has Daimler manufacturing engines in North America for the first time.
Renault and Nissan have existing bonds that stretch back to the last millennium, when they first started to work together in 1999. Daimler have latched onto this relationship only recently; in April 2010 the three each took a 3% stake in a project which saw them working together on small cars, vans and engines.
Previously, Daimler have shipped their engines into the States in a pre-assembled conditioned; this is the first time they have sought cheaper costs by actually building them in the US.
What the German outfit will get out of this merge of minds and production capacity is the 4-cylinder diesel engine which is bound for a city van, currently under development and will form part of Mercedes‘ next generation of compact vehicles, as the US looks to reluctantly reduce their carbon footprint in line with the rest of the globe’s targets.
In return, Daimler will supply 4 and 6 cylinder engines to Nissan and Infiniti for their diesel automatics. The Infiniti, not so well known over here and in Europe, has made inroads into the US market, predominantly due to its bigger capacity, petrol driven engines.
And this doesn’t look the end of the collaboration, according to announcements made at last year’s auto show in Frankfurt.
Infiniti have recognised the need to reduce their output and are developing their own compact premium car leveraging on Mercedes technology and framework, due to hit the markets in 2014.
The German/French/Japanese team also plan to work together in the stuttering electric vehicle market, concentrating on the batteries and motors to be there when the market eventually takes off, as Renault believes it will in the next five years.
This is extremely good news for van drivers seeking cheap van insurance. With collaborations such as this, components will be standardised across manufacturers. This will make, in theory, spare parts more available when vans break down, not to mention the cost of making these parts in bulk which will push the individual price down further.