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 that each would exchange shares in the other companies. The deal has been rumored for months, and Daimler has been looking for a partner to help spread the costs of small car development for years.
Under the new agreement, 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. These 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 automakers 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 Mercedes-Benz models. Going the other way, Daimler will provide some of its engines to Nissan for use in Infiniti models. The partners will also collaborate on light commercial vehicles, with Renault providing a new entry-level van to be sold as a Mercedes.
[Sources: Renault, Daimler]
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
• 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.
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
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.