HEADED (SOMETIME) TO SA: This is an artist's impression of the new Mercedes bakkie. Merc bakkies were being assembled in South Africa 60 years ago. Image: Mercedes-Benz
STUTTGART, Germany – The Renault-Nissan Alliance and Daimler will develop a new one-ton bakkie for Mercedes-Benz, as part of a five-year partnership.
The Mercedes-Benz bakkie will share some of the architecture with the new Nissan NP300 but it will be engineered and designed by Daimler.
The automaker said: "The vehicle will have all of Mercedes-Benz’s distinctive characteristics and features."
AIMED AT SOUTH AFRICA
The bakkie will be in double-cab guise and its primary markets include Europe, Australia, South Africa and South America.
Chairperson of the board of Daimler and head of Mercedes-Benz, Dr Dieter Zetsche, said: “Mercedes-Benz is the fastest growing premium brand in the world.
“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.”
TO BE BUILT IN SOUTH AMERICA
The Mercedes-Benz bakkie will be built by Nissan at the Renault factory in Cordoba, Argentina, along with the Nissan NP300 and a new Renault one-ton truck, for South America. The three bakkies will also be built at Nissan factory in Barcelona, Spain, for other markets, excluding North America.
Production of the Mercedes-Benz pickup will start by 2020.
The Barcelona factory will produce about 120 000 vehicles annually for the three partners, while the Cordoba factory will produce nearly 70 000 vehicles a year. A high parts-localisation rate is expected to expand the supply bases in Spain and Argentina significantly.
Renault-Nissan CEO, Carlos Ghosn, said: “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.
“This project will also allow us to optimise production capacity at the Barcelona plant and enhance our competitiveness in an important segment.”
The project is the latest milestone in the strategic partnership between Daimler and the Renault-Nissan Alliance, which celebrates its 5th anniversary this month. The strategic cooperation among the three companies began on April 10, 2010.
At the time, the scope of the collaboration was limited to three projects primarily focused on Europe. Since then, the combined portfolio shared between Renault-Nissan and Daimler has more than quadrupled to 13 projects in Europe, Asia and the Americas.