Once Foes, Now They’re Best Of Pals

PARIS-A stepup in the cadence of global automaker alliances is on tap following the consummation of an agreement between France’s PSA Peugeot Citroen and the first of the world’s ‘dynamic duo,’ Japan’s Nissan and France’s Renault.

In a surprise move, Germany’s automaking pioneer-Mercedes Benz-said it is completing plans to assemble cars at the huge facility maintained by PSA in the Mexican Renault/Nissan complex.

The Mercedes Citan van, based on the Renault Kangoo van, will add Nissan’s Infiniti luxury car to its lineup and the trio will build cars jointly in Brazil.

In addition, partnering moves on luxury brands, Mercedes and Nissan will pick up the pieces in the small Smart and Renault segments.

Brazilian sources say that GM and Peugeot are on track for joint production in Brazil, while GM and Nissan revive a partnership which almost resulted in a merger four years ago.

Not to be outdone in the Paris show maneuvers, Ford and Toyota have reconfirmed their plans to build hybrid cars together, using multi-transmission engines being developed jointly by GM and Ford.

Still in the oven are sharing programs between Ford and Toyota on hybrid vehicles and BMW and Toyota on diesel engines and electric batteries.

Partnerships of such onetime competitors would have never been conceived or pursued in the “old days.”

But times have changed, and as the Economist magazine states (October 6 issue) with a photo of Carlos Ghosn and Dieter Zetsche touring the Paris show together, “all for one, and one for all.”

Ghosn is CEO of both Nissan and Renault, while Zetsche is chief executive at Mercedes.