UPDATE 2-Daimler and Nissan to invest $1.36 bln to build premium small cars
(Adds detail on new cars from Mexico)
By Edward Taylor
FRANKFURT, June 27 (Reuters) - Daimler AG and Nissan Motor Co are jointly investing $1.36 billion to develop premium small cars and build a factory in Mexico, the companies said on Friday, in a step that deepens cooperation between the Mercedes-Benz and Infiniti brands.
The companies said they will build a plant with an annual production capacity of 300,000 vehicles in Aguascalientes in central Mexico, where Nissan already has a $2 billion manufacturing complex.
The first Infiniti cars will roll out of the new plant in 2017, followed a year later by Mercedes, the companies said, with both brands planning to market those vehicles globally.
The partners are considering production of a variety of models, including sedans, coupes and crossovers, sources told Reuters. They are expected to share common underpinnings derived from a small-car platform developed originally by Daimler for the Mercedes CLA sedan and GLA crossover.
The companies did not specify which vehicles would be built in Mexico. In September last year, sources said the companies were considering the site for joint production of the Infiniti Q30 and Mercedes-Benz GLA compact crossover vehicles.
In March, sources said Daimler and Nissan planned to pool development of premium compact cars to cut costs, expand the German carmaker's North American production footprint and broaden the Infiniti lineup.
The 50:50 joint venture in Mexico allows Nissan, which is allied with French automaker Renault, to share components and technology that are already used by Mercedes-Benz. In return, Daimler gets a first North American production site for small vehicles, to supplement its U.S. assembly plant in Vance, Alabama. Continuación...