The partnership between the Renault-Nissan Alliance and Daimler AG accelerated and strengthened as it entered its sixth year in 2015, the companies’ leaders said today in their annual media update during the Frankfurt show. Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of the Alliance, described the partnership as “one of the most productive in the auto industry.”

“It has accelerated the time-to-market for vehicle launches and has been an obvious strategic advantage for each partner,” Ghosn said. “We look forward to its continued growth, with more joint projects in the future.”

Dieter Zetsche, Daimler chairman and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, agreed. “Since the start of our cooperation in 2010, our joint projects have created value for our customers worldwide,” Zetsche said. “This year we further deepened the collaboration and announced two completely new projects. We cooperate when it is mutually beneficial. And that is the way we will keep it.”

Events in 2015 included the groundbreaking of a jointly owned US$1bn assembly plant in Aguascalientes, Mexico, which will produce next-generation premium compact vehicles for Infiniti from 2017, and Mercedes-Benz starting in 2018. Nissan and Daimler will co-develop the vehicles. The plant is expected to produce more than 230,000 cars a year by 2020. They will also be produced at other Daimler and Nissan plants in Europe and China. The joint assembly plant is located next to the Nissan plant in Aguascalientes.

The pair have also announced development of a one-tonne pickup truck for Mercedes-Benz which will share some of its architecture with the latest Nissan NP300 but will be engineered and designed by Daimler to meet the specific needs of its customers in Europe, Australia, South Africa and Latin America. The truck will be built by Nissan in the Renault plant in Cordoba, Argentina, along with the Nissan NP300 and a Renault version, for Latin America. The three trucks will also be built at the Nissan Barcelona plant in Spain. Production of the Mercedes-Benz truck at both plants will start before the end of the decade.

The Infiniti Q30 made its public debut at Frankfurt show. Production will begin at Nissan’s Sunderland plant in the UK later this year.

EV versions of the smart Fortwo and Forfour will go on sale in late 2016. Both vehicles will be fitted with an electric motor produced by Renault’s Cléon plant in France, the same one used in the Renault ZOE. The battery of the new smart electric drive will be produced by the Daimler subsidiary, Deutsche ACCUmotive, in Kamenz, Germany.

When the Daimler-Alliance partnership was launched in April 2010, the scope of the original collaboration was limited to three projects, primarily in Europe. Since then, the combined portfolio shared between the partners has more than quadrupled to 13 projects in Europe, Asia and the Americas.