Engineering synergies between car makers can be seen as marriage of convenience or inconvenience depending on which side you are viewing it from. Nissan is currently studying the potential for a sports version of the Navara pick-up that could take on rivals like Ford’s new Ranger Raptor in pick-up intensive markets like USA/Australia/Thailand among others. However, this idea can only be productive with outside help: Nissan wants the Mercedes 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel for the job.
However the dampener comes from the Mercedes side which says Nissan cannot get its V6 used in X-Class claiming that’s one of the key differentiators between the German brand’s first pick-up truck and the other members of the global pick-up partnership – Navara and Renault’s Alaskan.
This may come a as a rude shock to Nissan which had helped Mercedes extensively for the latter’s X-Class pick-up by offering a donor platform. This may sound like an isolated incident, but it’s not.
In fact, the relationship between Nissan Alliance with Daimler seems to be heading for a stormy one if considers Nissan’s January 2017 decision to freeze joint development of luxury cars with Mercedes-Benz in their seven-year partnership and potentially hitting profitability at a new shared factory in Mexico.
Mercedes says that with Nissan Alliance there’s an agreement to share technology, but not the V6 powertrain and associated hardware which if required by the latter has to be paid for. And due to this development, Infiniti, Nissan’s luxury brand is said to be reconsidering whether to use Daimler’s MFA small-car platform – as agreed – or look in-house to save money and capitalise on efficiencies.
Nissan and Renault each holds 1.55 per cent of Daimler AG’s shares, Daimler AG holds 3.10 per cent of Nissan’s shares and 3.10 per cent of Renault shares. What the future holds between the parties remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, an interesting development is taking place between Daimler and Volvo. Volvo could benefit from an engine deal which could represent just one area of cooperation following the February deal that saw Li Shufu, the owner of Volvo parent company Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, buy a 9.7per cent in Daimler in a deal worth $9 billion. And similar to the Nissan Alliance deal, Daimler could also be willing to purchase a small, non-controlling stake in Volvo to prove its willingness for long-term cooperation.
Daimler’s other engine customers
- In 2013, Daimler made a deal with the owners of Aston Martin for the supply of engines and various electronic systems.
- Boutique car maker Pagani is also a regular for Mercedes-AMG powertrains