MEXICAN STAND-UP: Representatives from the Mexican government, Nissan, Mercedes and Infiniti arrive for the start of the media conference. Image: AP / Rebecca Blackwell
BERLIN, Germany - Infiniti, the premium car brand once set up to challenge Mercedes-Benz for quality, is to team up with its rival at a new plant making compact vehicles in Mexico.
The brands' owners - the Renault-Nissan alliance and Daimler - said on June 27 that the billion-euro plant in Aguascalientes, Mexico, would eventually employ 5700 people and have an annual capacity of 300 000 vehicles when fully ramped-up.
Each group will pay half the costs for the plant, to be built adjacent to another operated by Nissan since 1992.
JOINT COMPACT ON WAY
Infiniti is a luxury brand created by Nissan of Japan in the late 1980's and a compact model - production of which will be at the new plant - is due for release in 2017. Mercedes versions will follow a year later.
The two companies gave no details about the shape of the compact premium car they will jointly design but said they would ensure their models "will clearly differ from each other in terms of product design and specifications".
Carlos Ghosn, Renault-Nissan's chief executive, said the Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz products from the new plant would have "completely different identities."
Dieter Zetsche, Daimler's chief executive, said the factory would be one of the biggest ventures in the partnership into which Daimler and Renault-Nissan entered in 2010.