Mercedes, Nissan expand cooperation to build pickup

Tue Apr 7, 2015 2:31pm EDT
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By Edward Taylor

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Daimler AG on Tuesday said it would expand its cooperation with partner Nissan Motor Co Ltd to develop a mid-sized pickup truck for Mercedes-Benz as the German premium automaker seeks to narrow its sales gap with rival BMW.

The new Mercedes-Benz pickup targets commercial and private clients in Europe, Latin America, Australia and South Africa, and will share some of the underpinnings with an all-new Nissan NP300 truck, Daimler and Nissan said in a joint statement.

"Entering the rapidly growing segment of midsize pickups is an important step in continuing our global growth path," Daimler Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche said.

"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."

Late last month Mercedes announced it will build a medium-sized pickup truck for customers outside North America, entering a new vehicle category which has been dominated by lower-priced brands.

Mercedes, Nissan and Renault have shared engines, plants and vehicle underpinnings for small cars since an alliance was struck between the carmakers in 2010. Since then, collaboration has expanded from three common vehicle projects to 13.

The Mercedes-Benz 1-ton pickup truck will be built by Nissan in Cordoba, Argentina, along with the Nissan NP300 and a Renault-branded truck, for Latin America, Daimler said.

"Nissan-Renault is going to invest $600 million in Cordoba to produce a new pickup," Argentine President Cristina Fernandez said during a public address in Buenos Aires, adding that the project will create 1,000 direct jobs.   Continued...

Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche smiles during the first press day ahead of the 85th International Motor Show in Geneva March 3, 2015. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann