Automotive Industry Intermingling

3 Nov

With the past decade being fraught with financial stress, identity crisis, and fuel efficiency regulations it’s no wonder that many automotive manufactures are turning to each other for help.  In retrospect the automotive industry almost seems to be banding together to avoid extinction, Battle of the Little Bighorn style, by trading technologies with each other and in some cases rebadging each others vehicles.  The Suzuki Equator for example, it’s nothing more that a Nissan Frontier with a big S on it’s nose; the Equator get’s great reviews and sells relatively well but make no mistake, it’s no Suzuki.

Suzuki Equator

As a young boy one of my favorite activities on a long, boring road trip was to name all the cars that I’d see driving by or that we’d pass, it’s a habit that I still maintain mentally everywhere I go.  My father would always tease me by calling out cars that if they’d been real would have been more like Frankenstein.  “Take a look at that cool Ford Cavalier”  he’d say.  Now that we’re approaching the year 2011 such sayings aren’t nearly as far fetched as they used to be.  Daimler, the corporate giant that owns manufacturers such as Mercedes-Benz and Smart and at one time  Chrysler, is now working with Renault and Nissan to expand it’s model ranges and powertrains.  Nissan, while a Japanese manufacturer has long since been managed in tandem with Renault, a French automaker.  The plan is for Mercedes to acquire the use of technologies from the Leaf, Nissan’s zero-emissions electric car, and the Twingo which is Renault’s small economy car.

Nissan Frontier

The Renault Twingo parts will probably find duty in a new Smart that will be a four dour rather than just two.  As a result of this trade Nissan/Renault will be getting 1.8L and 2.2L gas engines from Mercedes that will be utilized in a new Infinite model that will likely be similar to the G20 of the 90’s and early 2000’s.  Mercedes will also benefit from a small van platform that will be provided by Renault.

Smart or Mercedes?

My Father’s joking comments may have been funny ten years ago but they are not currently becoming a reality.  So if you’re one of those purists that loves your All American cars or you won’t buy anything other than a Honda it’s time to start holding your breath.  In the coming years you could be buying a sedan that’s a German, French, and Japanese mutt.  Chrysler built vehicles are already influenced by German and Italian engineering so if you’ll only buy American your choices have just been made easier; Ford and GM are the last of the All American manufacturers.

While all this intermingling is to some an atrocity I tend to disagree.  Every manufacturer out there has it’s weaknesses and by working together to build better vehicles we as consumers can only benefit.  Hopefully the days of just having to deal with electrical problems just because you drive a Volkswagen or Jaguar will someday end.  Think of it as natural selection automotive style, survival of the fittest in automotive technology can only be a benefit.  Maybe one day I’ll have Honda reliability while traveling in Mercedes-Benz comfort, can’t say I’d complain about that.


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