Mercedes Will Build Pickup With Nissan, Which Will Sell In U.S.
Will Sell In Europe, Australia, South Africa, Latin America.
Nissan NP300 version will sell in the U.S.
After the shock of finding out that Mercedes-Benz was entering the pickup truck market came the puzzle that if the project went ahead, it wouldn’t be sold in the U.S., where pickups are huge.
The puzzle was solved by Tuesday’s announcement from Mercedes it will build the new pickup with its alliance partner Renault of France and Nissan of Japan. Mercedes confirmed it will only sell its pickup in Europe, Australia, South Africa and Latin America. The NP300, which will be made for Nissan based on the same design, will be sold in the U.S.
A statement from Renault Nissan and Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler said Nissan and Daimler will develop a 1-ton pickup truck for Mercedes-Benz. The Mercedes-Benz pickup will share some of the architecture with the all-new Nissan NP300 but it will be engineered and designed by Daimler to meet the specific needs of its customers.
The pickup will feature a double cab and will be targeted both at personal-use and commercial customers.
“Mercedes-Benz is the fastest growing premium brand in the world,” said Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of Daimler.
“Entering the rapidly growing segment of midsize pickups is an important step in continuing our global growth path. Thanks to our well-established partnership with the Renault-Nissan Alliance, we are able to drastically reduce the time and cost to enter this key segment.”
The NP300, sold under the name NP300 Navara and NP300 Frontier depending on the market, was launched in June 2014 and is currently produced in Thailand and Mexico.
Nissan and Renault are already developing a 1-ton pickup truck for Renault which will also share some common architecture with the Nissan NP300. Production of Renault’s 1-ton truck will begin in 2016 at Nissan’s plant in Cuernavaca, Mexico.
The Mercedes-Benz 1-ton pickup truck will be built by Nissan in the Renault plant in Cordoba, Argentina, along with the Nissan NP300 and the Renault 1-ton truck, for Latin America. The three trucks will also be built in the Nissan plant in Barcelona, Spain, for other markets, excluding North America.
Production of the trucks at the two plants will start by the end of the decade.
The Barcelona plant will produce about 120,000 vehicles annually for the three partners, while the Cordoba plant will produce nearly 70,000 vehicles a year.
“Thanks to our cooperation with Daimler on this project, we will be able to share the cost of investment at the Cordoba plant, while at the same time open up new markets in the Latin American region for the Renault-Nissan Alliance,” said Carlos Ghosn, Renault-Nissan Chairman and CEO.
Production of the Mercedes pickup will begin in 2020.
The strategic partnership between Daimler and the Renault-Nissan Alliance began five years ago. It includes engine and component manufacturing. Renault supplies supply Daimler with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder diesel engine for use in its Mercedes-Benz C class. Mercedes supplies its 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine for Nissan’s premium brand, Infiniti. Nissan has a license to make Daimler’s nine-speed automatic transmission for use in Infiniti vehicles.
Renault and Mercedes jointly build the Twingo-Smart city.
The partnership has focused heavily on Europe, but that is changing as the Daimler-Nissan arrangement intensifies and the partners put more projects on the table for consideration. Last year Infiniti opened an engine plant in Decherd, Tennessee, that will produce small-displacement Infiniti and Mercedes engines for North America and other markets. And the partners announced a major assembly plant in Aguascalientes, Mexico, which they will co-own, to build up to 300,000 compact luxury vehicles a year starting in 2017.
The midsize pickup segment is currently undergoing a transformation worldwide. More and more pickups are being used for private purposes, and commercial as well as private users are increasingly asking for vehicles that have car-like specifications.
The announcement didn’t say how much would be invested in the project.