2013 Mercedes CLA Coupe Front

The Renault-Nissan Alliance and Daimler AG announced last week that the companies have come together in a joint venture for the development of premium compact vehicles, which will be produced at the jointly established new plant located in Aguascalientes, Mexico. Daimler and the Renault-Nissan alliance have a 50:50 partnership in the plant that will be built in the immediate vicinity of Nissan’s pre-existing plant, taking up the annual capacity to 3 lakh units per annum after completion.

The models to be produced at the plant will be the compact range from Mercedes and Infiniti (Nissan’s premium division) that will cater to the domestic as well as international markets, especially the US. While the GLA crossover was being proposed to be manufactured at the new facility, Mercedes will be producing the next generation CLA Class at the facility. Reports also suggest that the German automaker is also planning to produce a new compact sedan based on the A-Class at the new plant in Aguascalientes.

A compact Infiniti model is also scheduled to be produced out of the new facility in Mexico that will be based on Mercedes’ front-wheel drive architecture (MFA). The model in question is most likely to be the Infiniti Q30 crossover that will be rivalling the Mercedes GLA crossover in the premium compact vehicle space. Both Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz will collaborate on every development stage of the vehicles, from research and design to production; but will ensure that the vehicles clearly differ from each other despite sharing the same platform.

Daimler and Nissan will share a total investment of around 1 billion Euros on the Mexico plant and will add almost 5700 new jobs at the facility inclusive of engineering, line workers and support staff; by the time the plant reaches it full capacity in 2021. The production planned for Infiniti models is set to commence in 2017, while the production of Mercedes-Benz vehicles will follow in 2018. Apart from the Renault-Nissan alliance and Daimler, Mexico has been a hot property for other manufacturers as well.

Courtesy of cheap and skilled labour and its geographic access to the very important US market, German automaker BMW is also under the process of opening a plant in Mexico to produce the 3-Series and 1-Series models and also the MINI range (official announcement in July). Audi on the other hand is currently building a facility in San Jose, Mexico that will have an annual production capacity of 1.50 lakh vehicles and will produce the Q5 premium SUV starting 2016.

Infiniti Q30 Concept