Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz have spent the past two years becoming BFFs under the covers of their small cars. In addition to the production version of the Infiniti Etherea using the Mercedes A-Class platform and Nissan making engines for Mercedes in Tennessee, two years ago it was reported that the next Infiniti G would get engines from the German automaker. As the launch draws nearer, a report in Autocar indicates that Mercedes four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines will be under the hood from the beginning.
Infiniti has been investing heavily in growing the brand across the world, especially in Europe. The G range had no four-pot in the lineup, and without that, few buyers would even consider it. Having economical engines right from the start will at least give purchasers a reason to cross-shop the G with the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4, its target market. It will need that expanded consideration to move from 2011's 145,000 global sales to the 500,000 sales it seeks in 2016.
If you're wondering why Mercedes would provide engines and know-how to an entry-level luxury car that competes against the 3 Series, one of Mercedes main rivals, Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said there's no overlap. "People buying Infiniti or Daimler, they don't cross-shop between the two brands.... We came to the conclusion that Mercedes collaborating with Infiniti will not be hurting each other."