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Renault, Daimler Target Small Car Joint Ventures

Renault, Nissan and Daimler will focus on small and energy-efficient passenger cars in their newly-announced partnership, the chief executives of the companies said Wednesday.

“We’ve made significant changes already,” Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said. “We’re making use of small engines, which will allow us to be more cost efficient. We’re implementing specific projects, and we’re already in the segment. Demand for premium small cars growing.”

While previous auto alliances, like Daimler’s merger with Chrysler, have failed to produce promised benefits, the current “strategic partnership,” where the brands will remain separate, should avoid previous pitfalls, Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn said.

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“I’m definitely not worried,” he said. “We are still offering everything the same to the customer at a lower level of investment and cost, but a higher level of reliability.”

Nissan, Daimler and Renault plan to cooperate on electric cars, passenger cars and light commercial vehicles, as well as jointly developing and sharing diesel and gasoline engines for Daimler's Smart small cars and others.

Nissan is to launch jointly-developed small car model from 2013.

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