• Apr 7th 2010 at 6:46AM
  • 20
At a news conference in Brussels, Belgium this morning, Daimler AG and the Renault-Nissan alliance officially announced that the three automakers would collaborate on future products and each would exchange shares in the other companies. The deal has been rumored for months and Daimler has been looking for years for a partner to help spread out the costs of small car development.

Under the new deal, Daimler will hold a 3.1 percent stake in Renault and Nissan and the existing alliance partners will hold an identical stake in the German company. The partners will develop a combined platform that will be used as the basis for the next generations of the Renault Twingo and Smart cars including a new four-seater. The new models will launch in 2013 and the current Smart factory in France will continue building the two-seat version. The new four-seater, along with the Twingo, will be built at a Renault factory in Slovenia. All three vehicles will be available from launch in gas, diesel and electric drive variants. The new common architecture may mean that Smart will move from the rear engine layout it has used since it launched to a front engine-front drive configuration.

Renault-Nissan and Daimler will also share powertrains for other models. Renault-Nissan will provide small gas and diesel engines to Daimler for use in its smaller cars including, presumably, the next-generation A-, B- and perhaps even C-Class. Going the other way, Daimler will provide some of its engines to Nissan for use in Infiniti models. The partners will also work together on light commercial vehicles, with Renault providing a new entry level van to be sold as a Mercedes.

[Source: Renault, Daimler]


Renault-Nissan Alliance and Daimler AG announce wide-ranging strategic cooperation
April 7, 2010

Cooperation on the next-generation smart fortwo and Renault Twingo, including electric versions, as well as on expanding the smart and Twingo families

Widespread powertrain sharing and co-development on future projects with applications across passenger cars and light commercial vehicles, specifically:
o The sharing and co-development of diesel and gasoline engines from the Renault-Nissan Alliance; to be used in the new smart and Renault Twingo and to be adapted and modified with Mercedes- Benz characteristics for its new generation of premium compact cars
o The sharing of gasoline and diesel engines coming from Daimler to Infiniti, the luxury division of Nissan Motor Company, and providing the opportunity for further collaboration
o 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.

BRUSSELS, Belgium --- The Renault-Nissan Alliance and Daimler AG today announced a broad strategic cooperation that will enable both groups to already realize 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.

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 utilizing 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 gasoline engines between the Renault-Nissan Alliance and Daimler.

The Renault-Nissan Alliance will provide 3 and 4 cylinder gasoline 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 utilize Renault-Nissan Alliance engines and capture additional sales potential for Mercedes-Benz' future lineup of premium compact cars, while the Renault-Nissan Alliance will improve its capacity utilization.

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

Daimler, Renault and Nissan will also cooperate on future gasoline 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 standardization 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 utilization, 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 motorization will generate additional unit sales for Mercedes-Benz and optimized capacity utilization 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 create 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
11.55% 3.1%

On April 6, the market capitalization of Renault, Nissan and Daimler were EUR 10.5 bn, EUR 29.7 bn and EUR 37.7 bn, respectively. A standstill and lock up has been agreed between the parties for the duration of the cooperation, up to a maximum period of five years.

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 create 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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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      A lot of folk here aren't going to like this:
      'As for the French and Japanese carmakers, they stand to gain most from Daimler's extensive research and know-how in alternative drive technology.

      "Daimler has been a pioneer in fuel cell technology, for example, and Renault and Nissan have both made big promises to the public to get electric cars on the roads, so that's where they stand to gain," Stuermer said. '

      • 5 Years Ago
      So what does this mean for Tesla?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Daimler's 10% stake in Tesla last May "enables the partners to collaborate even more closely on the development of battery systems, electric drive systems and in individual vehicle projects." Daimler was already using Tesla tech in the Smart ED BEV, they are supposed to be cranking out 1,000 of those. On Tesla's side at the announcement "We are looking forward to a strategic cooperation in a number of areas including leveraging Daimler’s engineering, production and supply chain expertise" [specifically for the upcoming Model S].

        So maybe Daimler has moved on, or maybe this new deal changes nothing. Daimler already had its own Li-on battery partnership with Evonik, so it has never been clear whether Daimler is going to use Tesla's tech for managing thousands of off-the-shelf laptop batteries in their own vehicles.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Nissan already has the EV experience and the battery tech. What does Daimler bring to the table in terms of electric vehicles? I see none...
        • 5 Years Ago
        That's why the announcement is about cooperation in small cars, transmissions, diesel engines and commercial vehicles. It's not about EV tech at all! Apart from saying the small car will be available as an EV (big deal, offering an EV version of a car is pretty meaningless unless you commit to reasonable prices and volume), the only mention is:
        "In addition, opportunities to co-develop technologies relating to electric vehicles and batteries will be explored between Renault, Nissan and Daimler."
      • 5 Years Ago
      I expect to see more of these limited alliances going forward. The development costs in the car business is brutal. This is also cheaper than a full on merger. Daimler needs a partner if they are going to be a profitable full line car maker.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I think you hit the nail on the head. This about development costs. In searching around for more information I found that Daimler had first approached VW and was told thanks but no thanks.
      • 5 Years Ago
      BMW is headed towards carbon fiber for its electric car.


      Then again, BMW expects customers to pay a "premium price".
      • 5 Years Ago
      I thoought all the Eco-nauts wanted sustainability and recycclability. Steel and aluminaun is recycled in the high 90s percentages. Carbon fiber is un-recyclable. It makes dioxin a deadly carcinogen when burned too.

      • 5 Years Ago
      A lot of folk here aren't going to like this:
      'As for the French and Japanese carmakers, they stand to gain most from Daimler's extensive research and know-how in alternative drive technology.

      "Daimler has been a pioneer in fuel cell technology, for example, and Renault and Nissan have both made big promises to the public to get electric cars on the roads, so that's where they stand to gain," Stuermer said. '

      • 5 Years Ago
      I don't know much about how the corporate world works but I was wondering why Chevron doesn't buy 51% of Nissan's shares for $X billion, and then shut down their EV program?
        • 5 Years Ago
        You can only buy what someone wants to sell. The joint alliance with Renault makes a hostile takeover very unlikely. The Leaf by itself is no threat to Chevron our any other oil company.
      • 5 Years Ago
      not sure what nissan renault has to gain from working with mercedes.
      might be because suits have no actual skills so in order to justify their existence (and monstrous pay) they 'think' that any action however misguided is better than no action.

      what expertice they should try to get is.. that's right, how to make monocoque fiber glass cars.
      why must the obvious be so difficult for everyone to see.. think people
      a 4 seater sedan should weigh less than 500kg
        • 5 Years Ago
        Except flex is the last thing you want in a chassis. Yes, you want crush zones that buckle under extreme impact loading, but absolutely not flex. The ideal chassis should have a torsional stiffness value of infiniti ft-lbs/degree to minimize any changes front to rear in roll stiffness and dynamic camber.

        This is the one reason carbon is widely used over fiberglass (high stiffness/weight ratio). Yes, it's 10x more expensive, but it's well worth it to maintain the suspension parameters that your vehicle dynamics and suspension guys probably put a ton of time into.

        Maybe next time, instead of blindly saying why you think things would be better with the little to no technical automotive knowledge that you have, how about asking someone that actually knows what they're talking about. =)
        • 5 Years Ago
        the specs for basalt fiber as they are hoping to use in the EDAG sound reasonable - it approaches carbon fiber in some respects in performance, and yet is far cheaper:

        Since I am just a cost and works kind of guy and not an engineer, I would be interested in your appreciation of the material.
        I believe that it is reservations about consistency which may have led to their not being used as structural materials at the moment.
        • 5 Years Ago
        David, afaik glass has the same strength range as basalt. as the pdf shows E glass is typically a bit weaker than their basalt while S glass is stronger. basalt can be made in variations like glass. basalt fiber is very similar to glass but it is a bit heavier, it's deep brown instead of white which I don't particularly care for but that's mostly aesthetic.
        and it's not like carbon. about the same tensile strength (means how much tension before it breaks) as glass and low end carbon but it's young's modulus meaning elasticity is very similar to glass around 80GPa where as carbon is about 5 times as inflexible.
        it's not quite like carbon and more importantly it doesn't have to be.

        as I understand it, depending on use, glass is actually superior to carbon for cars. unless of course you use the very strongest of carbon at 6000MPa where glass can't quite go but even there carbon still have the potential weakness of being inflexible.

        when the slow car makers get their asses in gear and do as I tell them to : ) we might actually see carbon used for some areas of the car and glass elsewhere. but glass will do and basalt doesn't offer advantages over glass that I know of.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I believe fiber glass is better for safety because it's about same tensile strength but flexes more. carbon is used in part because of misinformation, misguided style choices and if you want a part that's very stiff but not necessarily tested to breaking point. that said there are versions of carbon that does have higher tensile strength than any fiber glass but that's not necessarily cheaper. glass ranges from 2000-4800MPa tensile strength, carbon about 3000-6000. typical steel is around 300.

        and so far there is no such thing as cheap carbon fiber : ) it's about 10x as expensive but just for the material. working with it is about the same cost.

        fiber glass is used for aircraft, boats, huge windmill blades under enormous stress. it is a really good material. it's also used for explosion proof cargo holds. not carbon.

        there was a discovery show demonstrating how much stronger alu was when reinforced with glass fiber. with the hamster from top gear even. material called glare
        • 5 Years Ago
        Wouldn't a cheap version of carbon fiber be better (safety reasons)?
        • 5 Years Ago
        @David Martin

        That basalt fiber looks interesting. It looks like they're mostly comparing it to the E-glass, which is the weaker fiberglass material (Strongest is S-glass). It's a bit heavier than S-glass and E-glass, too:

        Basalt: 2.7 g/cm^3
        S-glass: 2.49 g/cm^3
        E-glass: 2.55 g/cm^3

        Right now, pure carbon is your best bet for high-strength, high modulus composites, though there are a ton of variations. For example, a company called Innegrity is producing a super lightweight fiber (1/3 of the weight of S-glass) that they've interwoven with carbon to create a hybrid fabric (half Innegra S, half Carbon) that some F1 teams are starting to use for non-structural components (winglets, F+R wings, etc) that is intended to have most of the strength of carbon, but is less likely to splinter upon impact. It's a polypropylene-based fiber (similar to the material found in milk jugs) designed to yield before fracturing--something relatively uncommon among composites. Since it's so new, there's relatively little data on it, but here's a link to their site. It's pretty neat stuff, I've gotten to lay up a few simple parts with it.

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