Mercedes-Benz and Renault announce new partnership

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 27, 2010

Mercedes-Benz and Renault will partner to come up with a new modular small car platform and two separate engine ranges. The collaboration seeks to create what will be the basis of a new range of Smart models and a new line of Renault city cars. The platform is a rear-engined, rear-drive chassis that Mercedes is currently developing.

This is what will be placed in the next Fortwo that's due in 2013 as well as in the Forfour that will be arriving in 2014. Since the wheelbase and track widths can be adjusted, the platform will be slightly modified and will be used by Renault for a new range of entry-level models.

This includes the Twizy electric car and a four-door based on the Zoe concept. Whether Renault-owned Nissan, Dacia and Samsung will have access to the new platform remains unclear.

It has been speculated that Nissan plans to have a new entry-level model positioned beneath the Micra that will most likely be produced at its Sunderland plant in the UK. But this plan is now uncertain.

Mercedes and Renault are currently planning to share new engines. It was initially planned that Mercedes will provide Renault with three-cylinder petrol and diesels -- both with stop-start systems.

These new engines, which are claimed to be different from Smart's current powerplants, were designed specifically for the rear-drive platform. They will be fitted to a six-speed manual gearbox or a seven-speed double-clutch transmission.

Mercedes and Renault will later on work on a range of new sub-1.8-liter four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines. These engines will be used in higher-end versions of the Forfour, as well as the next A and B-classes and future generations of the Twingo, Clio, Modus, Megane and Scenic.

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