Renault-Nissan's partnership with Daimler is only a couple of days old, but the three companies have already divulged plenty of information on possible synergies. For example, the three automakers will work together on a small car platform that will one day underpin the Renault Twingo and future Smart cars. The companies will also collaborate on engine projects and share U.S. factory space.
Automotive News reports that another area where the three companies can find synergies is with commercial vans. Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche intimated as much during the press conference, adding "we have no concrete plans yet, but these are certainly areas of investigation which might lead to results." Nissan is just getting its feet wet in the segment with the spanking new NV2500, while Daimler has a much more established van, the extremely capable (if pricey) Sprinter. Since commercial vans is one of the few areas where the companies will compete, the best way to combine efforts is through the manufacturing process.
The NV2500 begins production in Canton, Miss this fall, while the Sprinter is assembled from imported kit components at Daimler's Charleston, S.C. plant. Since Daimler doesn't have an engine plant in the U.S., the German automaker can benefit financially from Nissan engines built in Decherd, Tennessee. The move would improve Nissan's economies of scale at its engine plant, while Daimler stands to save metric tons of money, since European labor costs are high and the company loses cash by the bucket due to the high value of the euro compared to the dollar. Sounds like a cargo-hauling match made in heaven to us.
[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]