Daimler eyes alliance with Nissan, Renault

Kyodo

The head of Daimler AG says the German carmaker is considering forming a partnership with Nissan Motor Co. if it can reach a deal on a proposed technological tieup with Renault SA.

“We have confirmed that we are in discussions with Renault. It is not just discussion, but there are other discussions going on as well,” Daimler Chairman Dieter Zetsche said Monday at the North American auto show in Detroit.

“If the discussions (with Renault) would come to any results, then obviously the potential expansion with Nissan is something to consider,” he said.

Zetsche said Daimler wants to strike a deal with Renault in the first half of this year.

Nissan and French maker Renault formed a capital tieup in 1999. If Daimler ties up with Nissan, the two are likely to work together on environmentally friendly vehicles, including electric cars, according to industry watchers.

Earlier in the day, Ford Motor Co. Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally said his firm will maintain the current capital and business alliance with Mazda Motor Corp.

“We treasure our relationship with Mazda. It’s been very useful and beneficial for both of us even though we had to take down our equity position,” Mulally said.

Ford has had an 11 percent equity stake in Mazda since selling part of its shareholding in fall 2008.

The share sale was due to Ford’s financial plight amid the recession, Mulally said.

“Our relationship with Mazda will keep going,” he added.