Renault-Nissan, Daimler extend cooperation on compact car

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Infiniti, the luxury brand of Renault-Nissan, is to launch a new compact car in 2014 using a platform developed by Mercedes-Benz, the two parent companies announced Wednesday.

German and French auto giants Daimler and Renault-Nissan already announced in spring 2010 that they would team up in the area of compact cars and they cemented that alliance with the acquisition of cross-shareholdings.

At the IAA motor show here, Renault-Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn told reporters on the sidelines of a news conference that Mercedes and Infiniti were extending that cooperation and would swap engines and Infiniti would use a Mercedes platform to develop a new car.

Just where the model would be built was not yet clear, but it would not be in Japan, Ghosn said.

"We're currently in the process of adding additional projects" to the existing cooperation, he said.

"The three projects that formed the original basis for our strategic cooperation are working very well and that's encouraging," he said, referring to a common platform for new versions of Mercedes' Smart car and Renault's Twingo; a partnership in electric cars; and the launch in 2012 of a mini-van based on a Renault model to be built in Maubeuge, France.

The French giant is also considering using Mercedes modules for its top-range models, Ghosn said.

Daimler chief Dieter Zetsche said the partnership would provide "more rapid access to new markets" and the two groups intended to deepen their cooperation in research and development.

© 2011 AFP

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