Renault, Nissan Motor, and Daimler join forces

Renault, Nissan Motor, and Daimler join forces

By Andrew Tolve

Renault, Nissan Motor, and Daimler announced a new strategic partnership to better compete with Toyota and Volkswagen. From now on, the companies will share research and development and will jointly produce Daimler Smart cars, Renault Twingos, and Nissan Infinity luxury cars.

“Right away, we are strengthening our competitiveness in the small and compact car segment and are reducing our CO2 footprint, both on a long-term basis,” chief executive of Daimler, Dieter Zetsche, told reporters. “We know that we can make brand-typical products based on shared architectures. The individual brand identities will remain unaffected.”

The global recession has pressured second-tier car manufactures to ramp up scale while reducing costs. Renault, Nissan, and Daimler plan to jointly pursue electric vehicles and other fuel-efficient cars. The companies will exchange equity stakes but will not entertain a full merger.

More Toyota trouble

Federal regulators have unearthed proof that Toyota deliberately delayed a US recall for faulty accelerator pedals. US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced that he intends to slap the car manufacturer with a $16.4 million fine, the maximum for such an offense. Toyota’s tribulations over the last six months have included three recalls, one of which stemmed from a glitch in the Prius’s regenerative braking system software.

Apps continue to surge

Consumers will download nearly six billion mobile apps in 2010, according to a forecast from ABI Research. That’s an increase from about two-and-a-half billion in 2009. ABI Research credits the surge to the rapid adoption of smartphones and the iPhone in particular. In March, a report from Chetan Sherma Consulting estimated that the apps industry will be worth $17.5 billion by 2012.

New Deutsche Telekom UK app store

Deutsche Telekom launched its mobile app portal, Softwareload, in the UK with more than 15,000 mobile apps stocked on its virtual shelves. The apps cater to BlackBerry, PalmOS, Symbian, and Windows Mobile users. One-and-a-half million users regularly traffic Softwareload’s sister site in Germany, and Deutsche Telekom expects similar use rates in the UK.

Apple gets into LBS

Apple announced that the fourth version of its iPhone OS will utilize location services to improve its turn-by-turn navigation apps and its social networking capabilities. The announcement provided an instant boost to the burgeoning LBS industry. The new iPhone will feature ‘background location’—basically a running feed of where a user is at all times—as well as ‘iAd’, an ad format that enables advertisers to target users in specific cities, even specific neighborhoods.

Rear seat entertainment to the fore

Worldwide sales of rear seat entertainment (RSE) units are expected to double in the next five years, according to a study from iSuppli Corp. As RSE units become more robust infotainment systems, their appeal will spread to adults as well as babies in the back of minivans. Blu-ray is expected to migrate into RSEs, as are Wi-Fi options. iSuppli forecasts sales to reach 5.6 million units by 2015.

Yamaha intensifies electric motorcycle R&D

Yamaha announced plans to intensify its research and development of electric motorcycles. The motorcycle monolith will devote more than $800 million in pursuit of an all-electric motorcycle fleet that is affordable for average consumers. Yamaha also will invest in fuel-efficient engines for boats and motor-assisted bicycles.

Andrew Tolve is a regular contributor to TU.

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