Daimler AG and Renault SAS were honored with the 2013 Franco-German Business Award for their industrial cooperation, according to a recent announcement from Daimler. The award, presented in Paris by the Franco-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry, recognizes French and German companies that are benchmarks for cooperation in four areas: industrial cooperation, the environment, innovation and new technologies, and human resources.

The first products of their cooperative effort, which began in 2010, are already on the road in Europe. In September 2012, Daimler released its Mercedes-Benz Citan city van, which is based on Renault’s Kangoo and produced in Renault’s plant in Maubeuge, France, along with its Kangoo light commercial vehicle.

The Citan, which accounts for about 25% of total production output in Maubeuge, also features a jointly developed Renault-Daimler four-cylinder, 1.5 liter diesel engine. A variant of this engine had its market introduction in the new Mercedes-Benz A-and B-Class models in 2012.

 “The [Daimler and Renault-Nissan] partnership has grown substantially beyond its initial scope,” observed Dieter Zetsche, Daimler chairman of the Board of Management and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. “What started as a cooperation with projects focused primarily on small cars in Europe is now a diverse portfolio of projects globally, and we see no barriers to future growth.”

 According to the companies, the Renault-Nissan and Daimler strategic cooperation is bound together by cross-shareholdings. In 2010, Daimler took a 3.1% share in Renault and Nissan, which in turn each have a 1.55% share in Daimler. 

 The partnership is managed by a Cooperation Committee which is chaired by Carlos Ghosn, chairman and CEO of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, and Zetsche. It consists of senior executives from Renault, Nissan, the Renault-Nissan Alliance and Daimler. They meet ten times a year to ensure the implementation of the agreed-upon projects and to discuss proposals for further cooperative ventures.

 Nissan and Daimler are also working on several bi-lateral projects, including joint production of Mercedes-Benz four-cylinder gasoline engines at Nissan’s powertrain assembly plant in Decherd, TN. Production of the engines, which will be fitted on Mercedes-Benz and Infiniti models, is scheduled to begin in mid-2014.

 Daimler, Nissan and Ford Motor Company are also working on the development of a joint fuel-cell stack and system to accelerate the market-readiness of fuel-cell electric vehicles.

“By every objective measure, this cooperation is one of the most productive in the auto industry, enabling all partners to increase economies of scale while keeping our brands and products distinct,” said Ghosn.