CLEON, France -- Renault says its first V-6 diesel engine is a landmark achievement in its alliance with Nissan, which celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2009.
If this engine exists, its because of the alliance, said Jacques Prost, Renaults senior vice president powertrain engineering.
Renault is equipping the upper-medium Laguna range with the 235hp 3.0-liter powerplant. The engine was jointly developed in a 180 million project with Nissan.
Nissan split the engines development costs equally with Renault. The Japanese carmaker plans to use about 75 percent of all V-6 production, mainly in its Infiniti luxury brand in Europe.
Neither of us would have been able to do this engine alone, but together it was possible, Prost said during a tour of the factory in Cleon, northern France, where the V-6 is built.
Nissan is expected to invest up to 120 million to adapt the V-6 to use on its cars, including on the Infiniti range starting in 2010, said Renaults project director Christian Demazure.
Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn has said Infinitis long-term future in the competitive European luxury sector will require a high-performance diesel engine.
More than 90 percent of Europes premium SUVs have diesel engines, a market reality that has even forced Porsche to announce that it will equip its premium Cayenne SUV with an Audi-produced diesel starting next month.
Having this new V-6 diesel engine is a key part of the Infiniti launch in Europe, said Malo Le Masson, Nissans European product strategy and advance planning manager.
Nissan will also use the V-6 diesel -- code-named V9X -- starting in 2010 on the Pathfinder large SUV and the Navara pickup in Europe as well as on the Maxima large sedan in the US.