The 50/50 joint venture allows Nissan to build cars on underpinnings that are already used by Mercedes. In return, Daimler gets a first North American production site for compact vehicles, to supplement its U.S. assembly plant in Vance, Alabama. Daimler has struggled in the past with insufficient demand for small cars.
Building cars in Mexico allows Mercedes and Infiniti to sell cars in the United States while avoiding some of the currency and tariff costs that crimp profits on vehicles imported from overseas. Mexico also offers lower labor rates than Germany, Japan and the United States.
Ghosn said joint compact vehicle development and joint production in Aguascalientes represent one of the largest projects in the four-year-old partnership between the Renault-Nissan and Daimler.
The companies will add almost 5,700 jobs by the time the plant reaches full capacity, expected in 2021, as well as 10,000 jobs at parts suppliers and related enterprises.
Nissan, Mercedes and Renault have shared engines, plants and vehicle underpinnings for small cars since Zetsche and Ghosn forged an alliance in 2010 cemented by token reciprocal shareholdings.