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Mercedes-Benz and Renault/Nissan Link-up

Renault Twingo Gordini (copyright image)

The current Renault Twingo Gordini

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7th April, 2010

  • Cooperation on the next-generation Smart Fortwo and Renault Twingo, including electric versions, as well as expanding the Fortwo and Twingo ranges
  • Widespread powertrain sharing and co-development on future projects with applications across passenger cars and light commercial vehicles, specifically:
    • The sharing and co-development of diesel and petrol engines from the Renault-Nissan Alliance; to be used in the new Smart Fortwo and Renault Twingo and to be adapted and modified with Mercedes-Benz characteristics for its new generation of premium compact cars
    • The sharing of petrol and diesel engines coming from Daimler to Infiniti, the luxury division of Nissan Motor Company, and providing the opportunity for further collaboration
    • The sharing of a Renault-Nissan Alliance diesel engine and transmission for the Mercedes-Benz Vito
  • Collaboration in the field of light commercial vehicles
  • One-time cross-shareholding amounting to 3.1% of each partner’s equity capital
  • Additional synergies encompassing selective common purchasing opportunities, exchange of operational benchmarks and best practices to be shared across both groups.

The Renault-Nissan Alliance and Daimler AG today announced, in Brussels (Belgium), a broad strategic cooperation that will enable both groups to realise benefits quickly from a range of concrete projects as well as sharing of best practices. The two groups also announced an equity exchange that will give the Renault-Nissan Alliance a 3.1% stake in Daimler and Daimler a 3.1% in Renault and a 3.1% stake in Nissan.

Smart Fortwo ED (copyright image)

The current Smart Fortwo ED

According to Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, “Daimler and the Renault-Nissan Alliance are combining common interests to form a promising foundation for a successful, strategically sound cooperation that is based on a number of very concrete and attractive project cooperations. Our skills complement each other very well. Right away, we are strengthening our competitiveness in the small and compact car segment and are reducing our CO2 footprint – both on a long-term basis. We know that we can make brand-typical products based on shared architectures. The individual brand identities will remain unaffected.”

Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, said: “The Renault-Nissan Alliance knows how to work successfully in collaborative partnerships, and this experience is extremely valuable in today’s and even more tomorrow’s global auto industry. This agreement will extend our strategic collaboration and create lasting value for the Renault-Nissan Alliance and Daimler as we work on broadening and strengthening our product offering, efficiently utilising all available resources and developing the innovative technologies required in the coming decade.”

Highlights of the Cooperation

Following intensive and productive talks, specific projects have been agreed upon and will be implemented with immediate effect. Specifically: New common architecture for small vehicles.

The successor to the current Smart Fortwo, a new Smart four-seater and the next-generation Renault Twingo will be engineered on the basis of a jointly developed architecture. All vehicles will clearly differ from each other in terms of product design. One main characteristic of the new architecture will be the unique rear wheel drive concept used by current Smart vehicles. The launches of the jointly developed models are planned for 2013 onwards. The Smart plant in Hambach, France will be the production location for the two-seater versions, while the Renault plant in Novo Mesto, Slovenia will be the production location for the four-seater versions. Right from its market launch, the jointly developed future models will also be available with an electric drive.


The focus of the cooperation in the powertrain area is on the sharing of highly fuel-efficient, diesel and petrol engines between the Renault-Nissan Alliance and Daimler.

The Renault-Nissan Alliance will provide 3 and 4 cylinder petrol and diesel engines out of its portfolio to Daimler, which will then be adapted and modified to reflect Mercedes’ characteristics. The result is a win-win situation for both sides: Daimler will be able to utilise Renault-Nissan Alliance engines and capture additional sales potential for Mercedes-Benz’ future line-up of premium compact cars, while the Renault-Nissan Alliance will improve its capacity utilisation.

Daimler will provide petrol and diesel engines out of its current portfolio to Infiniti. This includes 4 and 6 cylinder petrol and diesel engines. The result is a win-win situation for both sides: Infiniti will be able to utilise Daimler engines, while Daimler will improve its capacity utilisation.

Daimler, Renault and Nissan will also cooperate on future petrol and diesel engines. Final production decisions for newly, co-developed engines will be taken at a later time, seeking a production network that is well balanced, thus benefiting all sides.

The area of engine cooperation will be driven by a technical concept that ensures the preservation and clear distinctiveness of the individual respective brand and product identities, while at the same time providing a highly competitive cost structure. First, a high level of standardisation of the non brand-relevant components will provide substantial savings for both partners. Second, the use of separate, brand-specific technology packages will ensure that the requirements of the respective brands are met.

A key objective is to increase competitiveness of all partners through a substantial increase in volumes, leading to economies of scale and cost sharing in development.

Collaboration on light commercial vehicles

The companies have also agreed on a close cooperation in the light commercial vehicle segment. Mercedes-Benz Vans will expand its portfolio to offer an all-new entry-level, intended for commercial usage, from 2012 onwards. The technical basis of this van will come from Renault and will be produced at the Renault plant in Maubeuge, France. Both partners will benefit from higher unit sales, better capacity utilisation, shared investment burden, resulting in a better overall cost basis.

In addition to cooperating on small commercial vehicles, selected powertrain components will also be shared to enlarge mid-size van product offering and sales volumes. This includes a small diesel engine and transmissions which Daimler will procure from Renault-Nissan for its mid-size van, the Mercedes-Benz Vito. This additional entry-level motorisation will generate additional unit sales for Mercedes-Benz and optimised capacity utilisation at Renault.

Equity Exchanges

This strategic cooperation is underscored through a one-time cross-shareholding structure which enables the three companies to exchange, benchmark and provide synergies on the basis of a long-term mutually beneficial relationship. The overall construction of the deal is based on the principle of a 3.1/3.1/3.1 percentage cross-holding between Renault, Nissan and Daimler; it will be transacted through an exchange of shares:
o Daimler will get 3.1% of Renault’s newly issued shares;
o Daimler will get from Renault 3.1% of Nissan existing shares;
o Renault will get 3.1% of Daimler shares
o Renault has independently agreed to exchange 1.55% of Daimler with Nissan for 2% of Nissan shares;
o Renault and Nissan will each hold 1.55 % of Daimler treasury shares.

The strategic cooperation will be managed by Renault-Nissan B.V. for the Alliance and Daimler through a new cooperation committee giving representation to all parties. The cooperation committee will be co-chaired by Carlos Ghosn and Dieter Zetsche and steered by senior executives of the three companies.

Further opportunities for collaboration

It is the intention of both groups to provide a long-term framework to work closely on future areas of cooperation between Renault, Nissan and Daimler. Each company will pursue future opportunities following the closing of the agreement on the strategic cooperation and the implementation of the first major cooperation projects. These include opportunities to be studied on shared modules and components between Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz vehicles, regional cooperation in the United States, China and Japan between Nissan, Infiniti and Daimler. In addition, opportunities to co-develop technologies relating to electric vehicles and batteries will be explored between Renault, Nissan and Daimler.

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About the Renault-Nissan Alliance

Formed in 1999, the Renault-Nissan Alliance is the world’s fourth largest automotive group, with sales of 6.1 million vehicles in 2009. The Alliance is the most successful and enduring partnership in the automotive industry, and a respected benchmark for industrial cooperation across all industries. Employing 350,000 people and with revenues of €86.5 billion in 2009, the Alliance is present in over 190 countries around the world. Comprised of five globally respected brands: Dacia, Infiniti, Nissan, Renault and Renault Samsung, the Alliance is managed between two distinct and separate companies (Renault SA and Nissan Motor Company Ltd.), each with their own stock market listings (Paris and Tokyo respectively), Board of Directors and governance systems. During the past 11 years, the Alliance has formed strategic ventures with major companies including Dong Feng in China, AvtoVAZ in Russia and Mahindra, Ashok Leyland and Bajaj Auto in India. In late 2010, the Alliance will launch the Nissan Leaf, the world’s first affordable all electric car for the mass-market. The Nissan Leaf is the first of at least eight different electric vehicles from the Alliance aimed at revolutionising zero-emission mobility.

About Daimler

Daimler AG is one of the world’s most successful automotive companies. With its divisions Mercedes-Benz Cars, Daimler Trucks, Mercedes-Benz Vans, Daimler Buses and Daimler Financial Services, the Daimler Group is one of the biggest producers of premium cars and the world's biggest manufacturer of commercial vehicles with a global reach. Daimler Financial Services provides its customers with a full range of automotive financial services including financing, leasing, insurance and fleet management.

The company’s founders, Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz, made history with the invention of the automobile in the year 1886. As an automotive pioneer, Daimler continues to shape the future of mobility. The Group applies innovative and eco-friendly technologies to produce safe and superior vehicles which fascinate and delight its customers. With the development of alternative drive systems, Daimler is the only vehicle producer investing in hybrid drive, electric motors and fuel-cell systems, with the goal of achieving emission-free mobility in the long term. This is just one example of how Daimler willingly accepts the challenge of meeting its responsibility towards society and the environment.

Daimler sells its vehicles and services in nearly all the countries of the world and has production facilities on five continents. Its current brand portfolio includes, in addition to the world’s most valuable automotive brand, Mercedes-Benz, the brands Smart, Maybach, Freightliner, Western Star, Fuso, Setra, Orion and Thomas Built Buses. The company is listed on the stock exchanges of Frankfurt, New York and Stuttgart (stock exchange symbol DAI). In 2009, the Group sold 1.6 million vehicles and employed a workforce of more than 256,000 people; revenue totaled €78.9 billion and EBIT amounted minus €1.5 billion.


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