Daimler partners with Infiniti for new Mexico plant

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Daimler takes its alliance with Renault-Nissan to the next level, announcing a manufacturing joint-venture for an all-new plant set in Aguascalientes, Mexico.

Called COMPAS (Cooperation Manufacturing Plant Aguascalientes) and located near the existing Nissan A2 assembly facility, the new factory will be the cradle of the Japanese company’s luxury arm Infiniti’s all-new Q30/QX30 sister cars set to be produced alongside Mercedes-Benz branded next generation of compact cars.

The Aguascalientes set-up is only an ancillary one in Mercedes’ manufacturing network with the compact models also planned to be assembled at other Daimler production sites from Europe and China. Though not officially confirmed, the actual Mercedes models expected to receive the Made in Mexico tag will be the next-gen GLA and CLA.

The initial annual capacity of COMPAS is estimated at more than 230,000 vehicles. If demand is high, the new plant can accommodate up to 300,000 cars per year. The first Infiniti vehicles will roll off the assembly line in 2017 with Mercedes planning to start assembling its own models in Aguascalientes from 2018.

Both companies will invest $1 billion in setting up the new plant, each owning a 50% stake in the COMPAS entity. By 2020, the Daimler-Infiniti factory will account for more than 3,600 direct jobs.

COMPAS is led by an international management team from Daimler and Nissan: Ryoji Kurosawa is Chief Executive Officer (CEO); Uwe Jarosch is Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Glaucio Leite is Chief Quality Officer (CQO).

“With COMPAS, Mercedes-Benz Cars will for the first time have a production location for compact cars in the NAFTA region and will thus be able to serve its customers close to the market in a flexible and efficient manner,” said COMPAS CFO Uwe Jarosch.

The manufacturing joint-venture is only a small piece in the bigger Daimler-Infiniti cooperation puzzle.  According to the agreement, the two companies will co-develop their respective next-generation of premium compact vehicles, closely collaborating at every stage of the product creation process.