PARIS -- Renault is in the early stages of developing an upscale car based on a platform from Daimler's Mercedes-Benz as it seeks to expand its high-end product lineup.
Renault is studying whether a Mercedes-based model would be a viable product, Chief Operating Officer Carlos Tavares told journalists in a briefing on Thursday.
The Mercedes-based vehicle is the third upscale model planned, he said. "It is about using their platform and designing a Renault upper body to extend to it what I might call the French touch," Tavares said.
Production of the Mercedes E class-based model would be "concentrated" in France, according to CEO Carlos Ghosn. "At least one vehicle on a Daimler platform will help us," Ghosn told journalists in a separate briefing.
The Daimler platform alone would not allow Renault to charge higher prices, which are dependent on the car's specifications, he said.
Tavares said Renault plans a new generation of its Espace minivan for 2014, followed by a new upscale sedan to replace the Laguna mid-sized model.
Renault and Daimler are tentatively expanding the partnership they announced in 2010 to pool development and production of small cars and engines.
As part of the tie-up, Renault will produce a four-seat model for Daimler subsidiary Smart in Novo Mesto, Slovenia.
The new Smart will share a platform with the next-generation Renault Twingo minicar. Both models are scheduled to launch in 2013.
Source: Bloomberg and Reuters, with contribution from Bruce Gain