Dieter Zetsche and Carlos Ghosn had their intimate luncheon with selected members of the Fourth Estate today. It took place in the not so fancy, but highly convenient Maritim Hotel, which has a prized asset: A private entrance to the Frankfurt Motor Show. It, and the Marriott across the street, are the hottest properties in Frankfurt during Motor Show days. The TTAC-dispatched fly-on-the-wall reports from the luncheon:
- Infiniti will base a premium compact vehicle on the Mercedes MFA platform (Mercedes compact-car class), starting in 2014.
- Renault is studying the use of Mercedes modules for future upper-range offerings.
- Daimler will provide batteries from their production facility in Kamenz, Germany, and Renault-Nissan will provide electric motors and power electronics for the use in electric vehicles (smart and Twingo ZE). First releases will occur in 2014.
- Zetsche and Ghosn confirmed that their engineers made significant progress on all of the original three projects that the companies announced last year. Everything is going according to schedules:
- The smart/Twingo project is on track for an expected launch in the early first-quarter of 2014. Two-seater smart production will be in Hambach, France, and four-seater smart and Renault production will be at Renault in Novo Mesto, Slovenia.
- The all-new entry-level city-van project for Mercedes-Benz is also on track with expected launch end 2012. Production at Renault in Maubeuge, France.
- A cross-supply of powertrains is on schedule. The Nissan-Renault Alliance will supply Daimler with compact three-cylinder gasoline engines and four-cylinder diesel engines to be used in the small-car segment (smart, Twingo) as well as in the jointly developed light commercial vehicle and in Mercedes-Benz’s next generation of premium compact cars. Daimler will supply Nissan and Infiniti with four- and six-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines from the current and future engine portfolio.
That’s a lot of sharing without a lot of shares. While Volkswagen got nothing from its Suzuki investment, Ghosn pulled off the trickiest cross-cultural alliance there is: A fruitful and harmonious tie-up with Daimler.