By on August 23, 2012


The German edition of the Financial Times has a story about “broken taboos.”  It says that “smaller Mercedes models and cars of Nissan’s premium division Infiniti could together roll off the assembly lines in 2016.” The FTD heard that the joint car could be “a small SUV, possibly based on the Mercedes A or B class.” Reuters has a good English abstract of the German story.  Apparently, the FTD was asleep when a major busting of taboos was perpetrated in the beginning of the year.

In January, TTAC reported an intensification of the hitherto loose partnership between Renault-Nissan and Daimler. This involves joint smart/Twingo production, a new entry-level van built with Renault at its Maubeuge, France plant, more cross-supply of power trains and:

“Infiniti plans to base a premium compact vehicle on the Mercedes compact-car architecture, starting in 2014.”

As reported in May, contract manufacturer Magna Steyr will assemble “a future luxury entry level compact vehicle” for Infiniti, also with a production start in 2014. It stands to reason that these two premium compact vehicles produced in 2014 by Magna Steyr will be somewhat related.

An Infiniti  spokeswoman, reached in Infiniti’s new global headquarters in Hong Kong,  would not comment on the reports, but said that as far as Infniti is concerned, the alliance with Daimler “is great.”  She echoes comments by Renault-Nissan executives, from Carlos Ghosn on down, who praise the alliance with Daimler as “a marriage that actually works.” An expansion of the already blooming relationship would be no new breaking of taboos, it would be making more and stronger offsprings.

Nissan recruited Audi of Americas president Johan de Nysschen as head of Infiniti. De Nysschen just had his coming out in Pebble Beach and he made no secret of his desire to “join the leadership club of the premium automotive brands” with Infiniti. He answered the softball of whether Infiniti is planning a halo car with a forceful “absolutely” and promised  “a stunningly aspirational Infiniti” for the near future.

Like all premium manufacturers, both Daimler and Infiniti are watching the progress of Audi intently. With de Nysschen, they are looking through a magnifying glass . Part of Audi’s success lies in the fact that it can partake in the high economies of scale supplied by the Volkswagen Group, while maintaining a high degree of independence. Daimler needs more scale, Infiniti needs more independence. They might just get it through that marriage that actually works. Even if some Germans are worried about broken taboos.

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19 Comments on “A Marriage That Actually Works: Nissan And Daimler Break Taboos, Build Joint Cars...”


  • avatar
    tuscreen-auto

    Wait, what….? Nissan´s premium division is Nissan…..?

    *confused*

  • avatar
    probert

    The chrysler 300, dodge charger and challenger are all built on Mercedes platforms. I’m puzzled as to why this isn’t seen as some sort of success?

    • 0 avatar

      That’s a myth, probert.

      • 0 avatar
        probert

        It’s true up until 2011. The 5 speed auto is also Mercedes.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        I’ve researched this. The Chryslers clearly have W220 Mercedes front suspension to go with their E-class 5-link rear suspension.

        This link has a photographic comparison if you scroll down the page. Anyone currently perpetuating the myth that the LX doesn’t have Mercedes suspension systems should take a look so they can shut down the people who made up this lie and made fools of them:
        http://www.lxforums.com/board/f74/can-we-put-myth-bed-192045/index2.html

  • avatar
    PenguinBoy

    I seem to recall similar rhetoric around another automaker’s alliance with Daimler, circa 1998. “Merger of equals”, or something like that.

    I’ll believe the Nissan alliance with Daimler is “a marriage that actually works” if the partners are still as enthusiastic in 2022…

  • avatar
    Polar Bear

    Getting in bed with Chrysler was not enough. Daimler wants to cheapen the Mercedes brand further,

    • 0 avatar
      jimboy

      You’ve got that backwards fella, rape is a felony in most countries, except germany, I guess. Mind you, the french are used to opening their legs for the germans, so they shouldn’t mind so much.

  • avatar

    BMW and Toyota going to kick ther ass

  • avatar
    catt102

    Infiniti has completely lost the momentum it had in the years after the G35 debuted. Realistically, Nissan should board up the Infiniti dealers/brand and use the $$$$ saved to improve Nissan. One great Nissan is better than one so-so Nissan and a so-so Infiniti.

    Same can be said of Honda/Acura.

    And if there is going to be an Infiniti for the long-term, a GT halo version of the GT-R should be sold as an Infiniti.

  • avatar
    dejal1

    Right after the photo was taken Ghosn was heard to say “What happened to my watch? I know I had it on my right wrist when I came here.”

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Why doesn’t Mercedes have Nissan/Renault build the A/B/C classes and the Cute Ute for mass market near luxury buyers? That would leave Mercedes to concentrate on the E/S/GLK classes,the beast known as the G Wagon, and Unimog. True German Luxury for the E/S/GLK classes and yes, we do have a sense of humor with the G Wagon and Unimog.

  • avatar
    George B

    A vehicle with an Infiniti badge built from German parts. All the cost and down time with half the prestige. No thanks!

    Why isn’t there a car with Italian styling and German engineers obsessing over the details of things like suspension tuning, but built by a Japanese manufacturer using the Japanese parts bin? Make a beautiful car that’s fun to drive, but is reliable and cheap to own.

  • avatar
    dolorean

    Mercedes merging with Renault?? Last time that happened was when the Germans merged the Renault R35 medium tank into the Panzerkampfwagen 35R 731(f) in 1940. Pretty sure Louis Renault is spinning at 8000 rpms in his grave.

  • avatar
    Polar Bear

    The perfect car should have

    Italian design
    German engineering
    Japanese reliability
    British leather interior
    French comfort
    Italian handling
    American size engine
    Korean price

    • 0 avatar
      dank

      Most of that makes sense except for the French. Maybe they can provide the coffee to everyone?

      • 0 avatar
        svenmeier

        Dank,

        Most French cars are very comfortable. I speak form experience since I drove them for nearly thirty years as business cars.

        Currently I have a Citroen DS3 which is a beautiful combination of sport and comfort and style.

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