Mercedes and Infiniti confirm joint production in Mexico [w/video]Mon, 30 Jun 2014 08:45:00 EST
It's official, folks: After initial reports last week indicated that Mercedes-Benz was preparing to begin assembly at the Nissan plant in Aguascalientes, Mexico, the two parent companies have announced just that. Only instead of using the existing Nissan plant at the site (in operation since 1992), Daimler and the Renault-Nissan Alliance have announced a joint venture to build a new one alongside it.
The latest stage in the growing French-German-Japanese collaboration is part of a new collaboration that will see Infiniti and Mercedes jointly develop and build a line of compact premium vehicles, with the first Infiniti models set to roll off the assembly line in 2017 and the first Benzes to follow a year later. Neither party announced exactly which models that would encompass, but Mercedes already has a robust line of small vehicles (including the A-Class, B-Class, CLA and GLA), and Infiniti has long been toying with the idea of slotting in something smaller below the Q50.
The billion-euro project, split evenly between the two industrial giants, is set to create 5,700 new jobs in Mexico. In addition to the Aguascalientes project, Infiniti and Mercedes are also undertaking joint production of four-cylinder engines (initially for the C-Class and Q50) in Decherd, Tennessee, from which they will be exported around the world. By the time the new factory in Mexico reaches full capacity in 2021, it will have the capability to produce 300,000 vehicles annually. That's on top of the 850,000 vehicles the existing facility is capable of handling.
For more on the joint development, read the full press release and watch the video announcement below.
Renault-Nissan Alliance and Daimler expand cooperation with new plant in Mexico
- Renault-Nissan Alliance and Daimler expand cooperation with new plant in Mexico
- Teams will work closely on development of next-generation compact vehicles for both Mercedes-Benz and Infiniti
- New plant in Aguascalientes, Mexico, will add nearly 5,700 additional workers and annual capacity of 300,000 vehicles when fully ramped up
- Companies will equally divide investment costs of approximately €1 billion
MEXICO CITY (27 June 2014) – The Renault-Nissan Alliance and Daimler AG are significantly expanding their cooperation with joint development of premium compact vehicles and joint production in Mexico.
Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn and Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche announced today that their companies have agreed to establish a 50:50 joint venture, the business entity that will oversee construction and operation of the new plant in Aguascalientes in north-central Mexico. The new plant will be built in the immediate vicinity of an already existing Nissan plant and will have an annual capacity of 300,000 vehicles when fully ramped up.
Start of production is planned for 2017 with Infiniti models. The production of Mercedes-Benz brand vehicles will follow in 2018.
Daimler and Nissan will share the total investment cost for Aguascalientes of approximately €1 billion. The companies will add almost 5,700 jobs (including engineering, line workers and support staff) by the time the plant reaches full capacity, expected in 2021. In addition, a high localization rate will significantly increase the Mexican supply base.
Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of the Renault-Nissan Alliance: "Joint development of compact premium vehicles and joint production in Aguascalientes together represent one of the largest projects between the Renault-Nissan Alliance and Daimler. It also shows how our collaboration, which began in Europe, has become global in scope."
Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars: "In Aguascalientes, we will take our successful partnership to the next level by combining the skills of our two companies Daimler and Nissan in one production plant. Just over four years after the cooperation was founded, the decision for the new plant in Mexico is a major milestone."
Close collaboration between Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz at every stage of development, from advanced research and design to production, will ensure that vehicles within the scope of the project will clearly differ from each other in terms of product design and specifications.
Growing together in Mexico
In Aguascalientes both partners will enjoy access to Nissan's award-winning, highly efficient workforce. Nissan has been producing vehicles in Aguascalientes since 1992, and the plant has expanded significantly just in the past year.
In November, Nissan opened the first stage of a US$2 billion manufacturing complex in Aguascalientes. This increased Nissan's total capacity in Mexico to more than 850,000 vehicles annually.
Mexico is already an important market for Daimler. The company has production plants for trucks and buses in Saltillo, Santiago Tianguistenco and Garcia, a parts distribution center in San Luis Potosí and a remanufacturing plant in Toluca. For passenger cars Daimler has a pre-delivery-inspection and a training center.
Four years of increasing collaboration
The French-Japanese-German industrial cooperation of Daimler and the Renault-Nissan Alliance began in April 2010, with three "pillar projects" primarily focused on Europe. Since then, the portfolio has increased to twelve significant projects, including major initiatives from the Americas to Japan.
Just yesterday, Infiniti and Daimler launched production of four-cylinder gasoline engines in Decherd, Tennessee, USA. With an annual production capacity of 250,000 units, the Decherd facility produces engines for use in the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and in the Infiniti Q50.
Later this year, the Alliance and Daimler will start selling the next-generation smart and Twingo city cars, developed on a shared platform, the Twingo and the four-seater smart being produced at the Renault plant in Novo Mesto, Slovenia, the two-seater smart in Hambach, France.
By Noah Joseph
See also: Nissan's Ghosn called out by Deltawing's Panoz in print ad, Google's new Android Autos OS unveiled, will be in cars this year [w/video], Mercedes to build CLA at Nissan plant in Mexico [w/poll].