Nissan and Daimler to build luxury cars in Mexico

Article by Anita Panait, on September 5, 2013

Nissan Motor Co. and Daimler AG will produce small Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz luxury cars at the Japanese carmaker’s Aguascalientes site in Mexico, two sources told Reuters. According to the sources, the Infiniti Q30 compact hatchback and a number Mercedes-Benz models would be built at the $2-billion Aguascalientes site that is located at an existing Nissan assembly plant.

The site is set to commence operations in late 2013. The Infiniti Q30, which is expected to go on sale in mid-2015, will share engines and some chassis parts with the 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA compact crossover – both having a similar size.

The German carmaker will start selling the 2015 GLA next spring in Europe and next fall in the United States, according to Mercedes-Benz. The sources told Reuters that the GLA is considered as one of the candidates for future production at the Aguascalientes site.

Mercedes-Benz will unveil the final production version of the GLA at the Frankfurt Auto Show next week, and will produce the compact crossover at its Rastatt plant in Germany.

At the same time, Infiniti will also unveil a concept version of the Q30 at the Frankfurt Motor Show. According to Reuters’ source at Nissan, the Q30 could be built at two locations; initially at the carmaker’s Sunderland site in the United Kingdom for Europe, and later at Aguascalientes for the US.

Nissan and Daimler had inked a cooperative agreement in 2010 to share vehicle platforms, engines and other components. According to a Nissan source, the Q30 is the first Nissan-built vehicle that will share a Daimler architecture.  Mercedes-Benz North America spokesman Christian Bokich confirmed that the Q30 and the GLA will share some components.

The compact SUV segment is one of the fastest growing in the market. Even with this in mind, Mercedes-Benz will be joining it with the GLA. This progressive design is combined with off-road capability and that calm daily drive. This is a model that is strong enough to go on those off-road journeys while also being able to meet the challenges of a day-to-day drive. Indeed, when it comes to auto applications, the brand says that the GLA is likely to reinterpret what the segment is all about. With overall length at 4,417 mm, total width of 1,804 mm, and a height measuring 1,494 mm, this compact vehicle can easily maneuver through most rural areas and is just as lively on the pass or any country roads. Having a Cd of 0.29, it is safe to say it is likely to be dynamic and efficiency on the highway.

That’s not all as the high-quality appointments done, with special attention to detail, plus the flexible interior mean that the GLA is not only a compact SUV but a premium one too. Mercedes-Benz revealed that the new GLA will be the brand’s first ever SUV to have the permanent new-generation all-wheel drive system known as 4MATIC with the full variable torque distribution.

This is offered as an option though. Through the GLA, the brand is able to add another model to the already wide SUV portfolio. Along with the GLA, there are now a total of five model series that includes the G, GL, GLK, and the ML. The GLA-Class is actually the fourth of the brand’s five new compact models. Not only does this mean that the Mercedes-Benz has the widest array for a European premium manufacturer, the brand is also able to meet what customers look for when it comes to individual mobility. Looking at sales figures, there is no question that customers continue to receive compact models well.

For instance, 173,362 units of the A-Class, B-Class, and CLA Coupe have been delivered around the world in just the first half of 2013 alone. This represented around 58% of the market. The new A-Class in particular has a rather conquest rate. Estimates show that around 50% of the customers of the A-Class used to drive models from other brands.

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