TOKYO (Bloomberg) -- Renault SA, Nissan Motor Co. and Daimler AG expect to save “billions of euros” by sharing development costs as part of an equity-swap alliance, two people with direct knowledge of the talks said.
The automakers aim to sign an agreement that will include cross-shareholdings from 3 percent to 4 percent as early as Wednesday in Brussels, said the people, who declined to be identified as the discussions are private. They plan to share development costs for platforms and technologies including powertrains, the people said.
“It makes total sense for the automakers to share the investment burden and will help their financials,” said Koji Endo, managing director of Tokyo-based Advanced Research Japan. The partnership will deliver improved profitability in small cars, where demand is projected to be strong, he said.
The alliance may help the automakers save on developing fuel-efficient technologies to meet stricter environmental regulations, as well as new models for emerging markets such as China and India. The deal follows a tie-up between Volkswagen AG and Suzuki Motor Corp. earlier this year and Fiat S.p.A.'s takeover of Chrysler Group LLC last year.
Nissan spokesman Toshitake Inoshita and Daimler's Marc Binder declined to comment when reached by phone. Caroline De Gezelle, a spokeswoman for Boulogne-Billancourt, France,-based Renault, did not immediately return calls and messages seeking comment.
Renault, France's second-biggest carmaker, bought a controlling stake in Yokohama-based Nissan in 1999 when the Japanese automaker was nearing bankruptcy.
The three companies plan to share development costs for products including small cars, luxury vehicles and commercial vehicles, as well as conventional gasoline-engine, diesel, hybrid, electric and fuel-cell technology, the people said.
Daimler's Smart minicar and Renault's Twingo model may share key components in the future, while Daimler's Mercedes- Benz may supply powertrains to Nissan's Infiniti luxury brand, the people said.
Renault and Nissan, Japan's third-biggest automaker, tried to form an alliance with the former General Motors Corp. in 2006 to save costs by sharing production, development and purchasing. Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn and former GM CEO Rick Wagoner ended talks without an agreement.
A cross-shareholding underpins Renault and Nissan's existing alliance. Renault owns 44 percent of Nissan, which in turn owns 15 percent of the French carmaker.