Despite being competitors, common business interests often prevail.
Developing a new model entirely from scratch is an expensive thing. We're talking hundreds of millions of dollars expensive. Whenever an automaker sets out to do so, it often considers looking for a partner to share the investment. There's always the possibility of a win-win scenario. So when Mercedes first began to develop its current generation of front-wheel-drive models, specifically the A- and CLA-Class, it called a few competitors to see if any were interested in doing business.
Mercedes CEO Dieter Zetsche recently admitted that "when we were planning the current generation of FWD vehicles we were entertaining a number of discussions with BMW, with Fiat, with VW to check whether it makes sense to do something together." In the end, however, Mercedes opted to sign the dotted line with Renault-Nissan. In addition to the two aforementioned Mercedes models, the co-developed FWD platform will also underpin the upcoming entry-level Infiniti Q30. What else is being planned with this platform is still a bit of a mystery, but Mercedes and Renault-Nissan have also teamed up to work on future engine development.