Although global multi-national automakers usually have substantial engineering resources and product expertise at their disposal allowing them to develop nearly any type of vehicle from scratch, sometimes it makes more sense to leverage an outside company’s resources or experience to save on costs and expedite speed-to-market. The industry is full of examples of automakers collaborating on various levels from component sharing to full-fledged co-development, to simple re-badges. Reuters reports Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said the company continues to be open to future collaborations with outside automakers.
In the Reuters report, Zetsche said that in the early stages of development of the company’s new front-drive platform that underpins the CLA sedan and A-Class hatchback in Europe, that the company talked with arch-rival BMW as well as Volkswagen. The company ultimately concluded there would be only marginal benefit to sharing a platform, and went with a fully in-house effort. But that doesn’t mean the company is closing the door on other future tie-ups.
Daimler has worked closely in the past with Mitsubishi, and in fact taking over the company’s Fuso commercial truck division, and as previously noted, is currently working with Nissan-Renault on a next-generation Smart car. Daimler has also given financial backing to California-based electric startup Tesla, with the company in turn developing the battery pack for the Smart ED electric city car.