Firms to share a new small car platform and engines
25 November 2009

Mercedes-Benz and Renault are to co-operate on a new modular small car platform and two separate engine ranges that will form the basis of a new range of Smart models and a new line of Renault city cars.

The platform is a rear-engined, rear-drive chassis already under development by Mercedes. It will be used in the next Fortwo, due in 2013, and for a replacement for the Forfour that’s scheduled to arrive in 2014.

In lightly modified form - the wheelbase and track widths are variable - the platform will also be used by Renault for a new range of entry-level models, including the Twizy electric car and a four-door based on the Zoe concept.

It is unclear whether Renault-owned Nissan, Dacia and Samsung will have access to the new platform. Nissan has been considering a new entry-level model positioned beneath the Micra, possibly to be produced at its Sunderland plant in the UK. However, its future now looks uncertain.

Mercedes and Renault are also planning to share new engines. Initially Mercedes will provide Renault with three-cylinder petrol and diesels, both with stop-start systems.

The new engines, which are said to be different to Smart’s current powerplants, have been designed specifically for the rear-drive platform. They will be fitted to a six-speed manual gearbox or a seven-speed double-clutch transmission.

Later, the two firms will work on a range of new sub-1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines. These will be used in higher-end versions of the Forfour, as well as the next A and B-classes and future generations of the Twingo, Clio, Modus, Mégane and Scenic.

Owing to the similarity in mechanical layout, it’s likely that the new Forfour will be built by Renault alongside its new four-door model, at one of its existing plants. The Fortwo will be manufactured at Smart’s plant in Hambach, France, and it could be joined there by Renault’s city car.

As part of their deal, Mercedes and Renault are also planning mild hybrid and electric versions of their new models, although at this stage it remains unclear just which company is set to head the development.

Greg Kable

Twitter - follow autocar.co.ukSee all the latest Smart reviews, news and videoSee all the latest Renault reviews, news and videoSee all the latest Mercedes reviews, news and video

Join the debate

Comments
11

25 November 2009

Interesting that Renault are having this. I know VW had to abandon their fully developed rear engine rwd new Lupo city car as the format was too expensive for making profit, so it's now front engine fwd, even though the VW engineers said the rwd setup was perfect, practical and the best option it got rejected from above. I have a feeling this Renault city car will not be priced competitively with other city cars. The smart is stupidly pricey too.

25 November 2009

-if memory serves, the reason why the VW engineers ditched the rear wheel Lupo was because of stability issues i.e. they COULD NOT get it to work.

-just goes to show the superior engineering capability of Mercedes when compared to VW

-as for price the cars will be (from Renult at least) competitvely priced, just look at the current Smart i.e. around £6.5K; that tells you the Renault will be well priced.

-i wonder if this will see an merger between MB and Renault; I then wonder if Nissan will buy itself out of any arrangement with Renault and go out on its own?

25 November 2009

-thinking about it, the VW engineers (who tried to get the engine in the back of the Lupo but failed) have also been overtaken by the UK engineers i.e. is not the TATA Nano running with an engine in the rear and was that not designed by UK engineers.

-nice to see VW have progressed since the beatle! maybe that is why they wanted Porsche? "can you get the engine in the back of that mr. Porsche, we tried and failed" said mr. VW

25 November 2009

Interesting news, from what I remember they had been trying to find a manufacturer for a while that they could share engines and platforms with to save money on the Smart range and A/ B Class, which bring very little profit.

I think a full merger like CapsLock describes would be highly unlikely.

Mercedes also heavily share parts with VW in the large commercial van market.

25 November 2009

I very much doubt this report, not that Renault and Mercedes will cooperate, but all the other infos seem wrong. New 3 cylinder engines have already been announced from Renault to appear around 2012, so why would they now buy the engines from Mercedes? Also Renault announced new 4 cylinder engines that have been developed by Nissan, maybe the author got the information wrong, maybe Mercedes will buy the new engines from Renault and Nissan, who knows. We´ll see as soon any company makes an announcement. Also I don´t see, why they would develop a rear drive platform to use for a Renault, but who knows, just wait and see.

25 November 2009

[quote VelSatis23]

I very much doubt this report, not that Renault and Mercedes will cooperate, but all the other infos seem wrong. New 3 cylinder engines have already been announced from Renault to appear around 2012, so why would they now buy the engines from Mercedes? Also Renault announced new 4 cylinder engines that have been developed by Nissan, maybe the author got the information wrong, maybe Mercedes will buy the new engines from Renault and Nissan, who knows. We´ll see as soon any company makes an announcement. Also I don´t see, why they would develop a rear drive platform to use for a Renault, but who knows, just wait and see.

[/quote]

Vel satis - you are quite right. Mercedes need a suplier for their smaller engines and also a co-builder for their small car platforms, now that VW and Mitsubishi are out of the picture. It sounds like a partnership that can benefit all.

I can only hope that they make another Smart Roadster in future years.

25 November 2009

A four seater version of the Fortwo, to be called the Forfour, and its a joint venture with another manufacturer?

I'm sure I've heard of that somewhere before......

26 November 2009

[quote CapsLock]

-if memory serves, the reason why the VW engineers ditched the rear wheel Lupo was because of stability issues i.e. they COULD NOT get it to work.

-just goes to show the superior engineering capability of Mercedes when compared to VW

[/quote]

I was relieved that VW saw sense eventually. Can't believe Mercedes would do another Smart with the engine at the back. Will they never learn ?

26 November 2009

- not sure about that uncle mellow, the Smart has been a great success, the Nano has gained massive advantage and success from a rear engine etc

-the only reason VW GAVE UP on the idea was because they could not get it to work; the logic for a rear mounted engine also assists in things like pedestrian safety as well as overall size etc, next you will be telling me that VW wanted to make the Lupo longer with the engine at the front (to add in the pedestrian saftey etc) and make less money because they thought that was the definition of sense!

-face it the VW engineers got beat fair and square by Merc and the British Engineers involved in the Nano project; simple as, VW just could not get it to work, the rear engined Lupo drove them around the bend! - sorry, I forgot no it did not! (they could not get it to work!)

26 November 2009

VW are not stupid, they could easily get it to work, but the design makes it too expensive, i heard their directive was to be able to sell the car for as low as £4k and still make a good profit. The smart is a stupidly expensive car that is popular with wealthy people or those that have made a mistake. I live in cornwall and ever since the the first smart was launched up until today i have never seen one on the road, only one in my town parked on a drive. They are not a world success, they might be common in cities i dont know..


Pages

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Lexus LC500
    Car review
    20 October 2017
    Futuristic Lexus LC coupé mixes the latest technology with an old-school atmospheric V8
  • Maserati Levante S GranSport
    First Drive
    20 October 2017
    Get ready to trade in your diesels: Maserati’s luxury SUV finally gets the engine it’s always needed
  • Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The handsome Jaguar XF Sportbrake exhibits all the hallmarks that makes the saloon great, and with the silky smooth diesel V6 makes it a compelling choice
  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK