Mercedes-Benz may produce the next-generation CLA compact car in Mexico as part of a joint venture with Nissan, Daimler chairman Dieter Zetsche remarked to Automotive News. He said that a decision on the matter would be out early 2014. Zetsche said the CLA compact would be built at Nissan’s Aguascalientes site in Mexico starting in 2018, adding that the Japanese carmaker would expand the plant to prepare for the assembly of the Mercedes model.
Nissan has said it will expand its Aguascalientes site to produce a derivative for its Infiniti brand. Mercedes will start selling the first generation of the Germany-built CLA this fall. Zetsche told Automotive News that Mercedes aims to trim its exposure to currency swings by hiking output in North America, noting that Mexico is the “best location” for the United States.
He also noted that a joint venture with Nissan would make more economic sense than building a new site. Daimler’s chairman quipped that the CLA would be produced in Mexico since it is highest-production car for the US. The new CLA compact car is underpinned by a new front-wheel-drive platform that also underpins the B-class hatchback, the GLA crossover and the A-class hatchback.