Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler and alliance partner Renault-Nissan have signed off on an extension to a part-sharing agreement that will see the latter’s up-market Infiniti brand use the formers’ contemporary MFA (modular front architecture) small car platform, as used beneath the second-generation B-class, as the basis of a new compact MPV scheduled to on sale in the UK in 2014.
CEO of the Renault-Nissan Alliance Carlos Ghosn, has, however, told Autocar: "You'd be very surprised if in five or six years that Mercedes and Renault/Nissan had only cooperated on small cars."
The platform sharing agreement, which is expected to be made public at a joint Daimler and Renault-Nissan press conference at the Frankfurt motor show, follows an earlier deal for four-cylinder and V6 diesel engines developed and produced by Mercedes-Benz to be used in the Infiniti M.
Previewed by the Etherea concept at the Geneva motor show back in March, the new Infiniti MPV has been developed primarily for sale in Europe, although sources involved in the Daimler and Renault/Nissan alliance have indicated to Autocar that there are also plans to market the new five-seater in Infiniti’s largest market, North America.
An Infiniti insider revealed to Autocar that initial proposals for the MPV were based on the same platform as the second-generation Nissan Qashqai but said the alliance between parent company Renault/Nissan and Daimler had opened up an opportunity to use a more premium underpinning that provide a more sound base in terms of NVH (noise, vibration, harshness), rigidity and production flexibility.
The MFA platform, which is earmarked to underpin a whole range of upcoming Mercedes-Benz models, including the new third-generation A-class, CLC sedan, CLC shooting brake and GLC junior SUV, also provide the choice between standard front and optional four-wheel drive.
As well as sharing the same platform as a range of new Mercedes-Benz models, the Infiniti MPV is also expected to be powered by a range of four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines engineered in a jointly by Mercedes-Benz and Renault/Nissan.
Details on a production site for the new Infiniti model remain scarce, although Infiniti sources suggest the new car will be assembled in Europe. Plans are also been studied to establish a site in the NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) region for the production of MFA (modular front architecture) based models.