Mercedes-Benz may build the next-generation CLA compact car in Mexico as part of a joint venture with Nissan, Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said.
The CLA would be assembled at a Nissan plant in Aguascalientes, Mexico, beginning in 2018. Nissan would expand the plant for Mercedes assembly, Zetsche told Automotive News, a sister publication of Automotive News Europe.
A decision will be made by early next year, Zetsche said.
Nissan has said it will enlarge the plant to build a derivative for its Infiniti brand.
The CLA, which is built at Daimler's new factory in Hungary, is designed to broaden Mercedes' appeal, especially outside the slumping European market.
Zetsche said Mercedes wants to reduce its exposure to currency swings by increasing production in North America. "Mexico is the best location for the United States," he said, adding that a joint venture with Nissan would make more economic sense than a new factory.
The CLA would be built in Mexico because "it is the highest-production car for the United States," coming off the new front-wheel-drive platform that also is used for the B-class hatchback, the GLA crossover and the A-class hatchback.