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Daimler eyes output tie

JIJI

German automaker Daimler AG is considering joint production of its next-generation Mercedes-Benz CLA compact car in Mexico with Nissan Motor Co., it was learned Monday.

The car would be assembled at Nissan’s Mexican plant in Aguascalientes beginning in 2018, Daimler Chairman Dieter Zetsche told the U.S. weekly industry paper Automotive News.

A decision will be made by early next year, he was quoted as saying at a press event.

Launched this year, the CLA is currently manufactured at a Mercedes-Benz plant in Hungary.

But Zetsche said Mexico is the best location to produce the model because the entry-level Mercedes’ main target is the United States, the world’s largest market for luxury vehicles. Using Nissan’s plant to build the car makes more economic sense than constructing its own plant in the Latin American country, he added.

Nissan is building its third Mexican assembly facility at the Aguascalientes plant.

Daimler formed a strategic alliance with Nissan and its French partner, Renault SA, in 2010 to jointly develop vehicles, share engines and pursue green technologies together.

The envisaged joint CLA production would strengthen the alliance in the field of vehicle assembly, industry sources said.