Nissan, Daimler Said to Agree to Create Mexican Venture

Nissan Motor Co. (7201) and Daimler AG (DAI) agreed to create a joint venture for cooperation efforts in their auto operations in Mexico, according to people familiar with the matter.

The automakers will each control 50 percent of the venture, which would oversee potential projects, such as joint vehicle production, the people said, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private. Talks on specific initiatives are still ongoing between the companies and the Mexican government, the people said.

Mercedes and Nissan’s upscale Infiniti brand will produce cars together “if both sides benefit,” although “no decision has been taken,” Ola Kaellenius, the Daimler unit’s sales chief, said at an event this week near Marseille, France, when asked about cooperation in Mexico.

Joerg Howe, a spokesman for Stuttgart, Germany-based Daimler, declined to comment on cooperation developments between the companies. Sara Jenkins, a spokeswoman for Yokohama, Japan-based Nissan, also declined to comment.

Daimler has gradually expanded the scope of a four-year-old partnership with Renault SA (RNO) and its affiliate Nissan. The cooperation was originally focused on Daimler’s Smart city cars and delivery vans. The revamped Renault Twingo, which will share underpinnings with Smart models was introduced last week at the Geneva Motor Show. In September, Nissan agreed to supply Daimler with commercial vans to be sold under its Fuso label.

Technology Sharing

In 2012, the companies agreed to jointly develop four-cylinder gasoline engines and to license Mercedes transmissions to Nissan’s Infiniti. The start of joint engine production in Tennessee is planned for later this year, while Mercedes is considering sharing its compact-car technology with Infiniti.

A future version of the CLA might be built at Nissan’s plant in Aguascalientes, Mexico, Automotive News reported in July. A decision could be made in early 2014, the magazine said citing Daimler Chief Executive Officer Dieter Zetsche.

Joint production of Daimler and Nissan vehicles could start as early as next fall in the Mexican facility, which is under construction, the Nikkei newspaper reported in September.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mathieu Rosemain in Paris at mrosemain@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chad Thomas at cthomas16@bloomberg.net Chris Reiter

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