In the late 90′s Nissan was in poor shape, in 1999 the Japanese company was near bankruptcy but was rescued by cash rich Renault who saw advantages in having a Japanese partner that could share research and development costs under a global alliance that would see the partners develop engines and platforms together. Renault took a 36% share of Nissan, and Nissan said it would take a share in Renault as soon as it was financially able to, in 2001 it took a 15% share. In 1999 Daimler also took a majority share in Chrysler, which it would then unload just under a decade later.
Three years after the Chrysler-Daimler split, Daimler are looking to their Chinese partner Beijing Auto to create a Renault-Nissan style alliance. According to Chinese media reports, which are more rumor than actual fact at this stage, Beijing Auto will carry out an IPO in Hong Kong in which Daimler will take a large share, but in return Beijing Auto will invest heavily in Daimler.
Reports from auto.163.com indicate that both companies will use each others key points to mutually advance, it is expected that Beijing Auto’s future C90 sedan will sit on top of the current E-Class platform, and both will work together on researching new platforms and models. In the past thirty years Beijing Auto has become cash rich from building and selling models for companies such as Hyundai and Mercedes, as well as creating the Foton brand which is now one of the world’s largest truck manufacturers. Beijing Auto did once try unsuccessfully to buy the Opel brand from GM, but the marque was taken off sale by GM, presumably due to SAIC’s disapproval.
Auto.163.com are quoting an annoymous tipster from Daimler who is able to confirm the plan and also reveals that Beijing Auto will sell 20% of its shares to Daimler prior to the IPO, with Beijing Auto also taking a healthy buy into Daimler. Official news is not expected to be announced until after the Chinese New Year which starts in early February.