Mike Stevens | Apr 7, 2010

AFTER MONTHS OF discussion and reports this week of a coming decision, the Renault-Nissan alliance and Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler AG have today announced wide-ranging "strategic cooperation".

Under the terms of the partnership, the companies will make a one-time cross-shareholding exchange amounting to 3.1 percent of each partner's equity capital.

More specifically, Daimler will take a 3.1 percent stake in Renault through new shares and 3.1 percent of Nissan through existing shares. Renault will in turn gain a 3.1 percent stake in Daimler, of which 1.55 percent will go to Nissan in exchange for a further 2 percent stake in the Japanese carmaker.

"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,” Renault and Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said today.

Daimler CEO Dr Dieter Zetsche said that the new partnership will see each company benefit from the expertise and existing powertrain options of its partners.

"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,” Dr Zetsche said.

The Renault-Nissan alliance will share its diesel and petrol expertise and technology, which Mercedes-Benz will modify and adapt in the development of its upcoming successor to the Smart ForTwo. Engines shared by Renault-Nissan will include three- and four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines.

Daimler will in turn share four- and six-cylinder engines from its current range with Nissan's luxury arm, Infiniti.

All three companies will cooperate on the development of future petrol and diesel engines, standardising non-brand-relevant components while also maintaining a focus on the distinct needs of each company. A key objective of the co-developed technology will be to increase the competitiveness of each brand in their respective markets.

A common architecture will also be developed, forming the basis of the ForTwo replacement and the next-generation Twingo, with both models expected to launch in 2013. Both vehicles will be offered in two- and four-seat variants, built on a rear-wheel-drive platform. All-electric models will also figure in the line-ups of both cars.

Collaboration among the three companies will also extend to light commercial vehicles. Mercedes-Benz Vans will include all-new Renault-derived entry-level models in its portfolio, to be launched in 2012. The vans will be built at Renault's plant in France.

The Mercedes-Benz Vito range will also gain transmissions and a small diesel engine from Renault-Nissan.

Beyond the plans outlined in today's announcement, all three companies will work closely on the development of future technologies where it is mutually beneficial, including region-specific cooperation in the US, China and Japan.

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