2019 Infiniti QX50, first drive
In 2010, Renault-Nissan and Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler agreed to a share-trading partnership that was rumored to birth a new luxury-compact car. Eight years later, a new report claims that vehicle is dead.
Following a report from the daily business publication Nikkan Kogyo claiming the idea of a joint compact car is stillborn, Automotive News (subscription required) reported on Friday that Nissan, Infiniti's parent make, is still committed to its Daimler partnership. The Japanese automaker did not, however, comment on the compact car project. The Nikkan Kogyo report claimed work on the luxury-compact car had been suspended due to shifting consumer preference for utility vehicles and uncertainty over tariffs in the United States.
The Daimler-Nissan luxury compact was to become an entry-level Infiniti sedan built at a plant in Aguascalientes, Mexico. The plant's location poses uncertainty as the U.S., Canada, and Mexico are currently in discussions to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The plant is a 50/50 joint venture between Daimler and the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, and Mercedes-Benz will utilize the facility to build its next-generation of compact cars.
An Infiniti spokesperson told AN, "we continue to reap the benefits of our successful cooperation (with Daimler), which includes a number of R&D and manufacturing initiatives around the world.”
Daimler was also rumored to supply Infiniti with a new small-car platform in 2010 at a time when consumers were opting out of gas-guzzling SUVs and large sedans. The compact sedan would likely have sat below the current Q50, previously the G35 sedan. The model was also rumored to use Daimler-supplied engines.
The most recent product to come from the Nissan-Daimler partnership is the 2019 QX50 crossover. The vehicles rides on a new architecture developed jointly by the Japanese and German automakers.