Daimler and Renault-Nissan Alliance start manufacturing joint venture in Mexico

  • Manufacturing joint venture called COMPAS (Cooperation Manufacturing Plant Aguascalientes)
  • To build plant for the production of next-generation premium compact vehicles for the brands Mercedes-Benz and Infiniti
  • COMPAS led by international management team from Daimler and Nissan

AGUASCALIENTES, Mexico – 07.28.2015 – Five years after their strategic cooperation was established, Daimler and the Renault-Nissan Alliance have significantly expanded their collaboration with the start of a manufacturing joint venture in Aguascalientes in central Mexico.

The new business entity COMPAS (Cooperation Manufacturing Plant Aguascalientes) is 50:50 owned by Daimler and Nissan. The partners will invest a total of US$1 billion in COMPAS which will oversee the construction and operation of a manufacturing plant for the production of next-generation premium compact vehicles for the brands Mercedes-Benz and Infiniti.

The state-of-the-art plant will be located near the Nissan Aguascalientes A2 plant. It will have an initial annual production capacity of more than 230,000 vehicles and will create about 3,600 direct jobs by 2020. Depending on the market development and customer demand, there will be the potential to add additional capacity. Production of Infiniti vehicles will begin in 2017, first Mercedes-Benz vehicles will roll off the line in 2018.

COMPAS is led by an international management team from Daimler and Nissan: Ryoji Kurosawa is Chief Executive Officer (CEO); Uwe Jarosch is Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Glaucio Leite is Chief Quality Officer (CQO).

The decision-making process of COMPAS is supported by a Board of Directors made up of three executives from each company. The board members from Daimler are: Michael Göbel, Head of Production Compact Cars, Mercedes-Benz Cars; Axel Harries, Head of Quality Management, Mercedes-Benz Cars; and Christian Schulz, Head of Controlling, Mercedes-Benz Cars Operations.The Nissan executives are: Armando Avila, Manufacturing VP, Nissan Mexico; Carlos Servin, Finance VP, Nissan North America; and Takehiro Terai, Total Customer Satisfaction VP, Nissan North America.

“COMPAS is an outstanding example of the global reach of the Renault-Nissan Alliance and Daimler cooperation. Together we are combining the manufacturing expertise of Nissan and Daimler in one production plant in Mexico for the production of next-generation premium compact cars,” said  COMPAS CEO Kurosawa. “Aguascalientes was selected as the location for this new plant thanks to the state’s well-established supplier base and Nissan’s track record in highly efficient manufacturing in Mexico for more than three decades,” he added.

Kurosawa has more than 30 years’ manufacturing experience at both Nissan and Infiniti. In his last position as General Manager of the Tochigi Plant in Japan, he was in charge of the production and quality of Infiniti, including the Infiniti Q50 flagship sedan.

“With COMPAS, Mercedes-Benz Cars will for the first time have a production location for compact cars in the NAFTA region and will thus be able to serve its customers close to the market in a flexible and efficient manner,” said COMPAS CFO Jarosch.

During more than 40 years at Daimler, Jarosch has completed various and largely international assignments in finance and controlling. In his last position as CFO of the Mercedes-Benz passenger cars business in India, he had a responsible role in the significant expansion of the local production and the sales network in the country.

“By incorporating the best from both companies in terms of manufacturing and quality processes, we will produce top-quality products, maximize resources, and optimize costs at the same time. We are also making sure that both brands’ quality requirements and identities are safeguarded,” added COMPAS CQO Leite.

During 24 years at Daimler, Leite has taken over various functions in production and planning at Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicles as well as passenger cars in Brazil and Germany. In his last position, after several project assignments at the passenger car plants in the USA and China, he oversaw preparations for the final assembly of the next-generation E-Class at the Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen plant in Germany.

As announced in June 2014, Daimler and Infiniti will also cooperate in the development of the next-generation premium compact vehicles for the brands Mercedes-Benz and Infiniti. The two partners will closely collaborate at every stage of the product creation process. Brand identity will be safeguarded as the Mercedes-Benz and Infiniti vehicles will clearly differ from each other in terms of product design, driving characteristics, and specifications.

Daimler and Nissan will also produce the next-generation premium compact cars at other production locations around the world, including Europe and China.

Infiniti enhances the retail experience with industry leading in-dealership technology

  • Infiniti debuts a new tablet-based app designed to simplify and speed up the purchase and delivery process
  • Studies show customer satisfaction is higher during an efficient purchase experience

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – 07.23.2015 – Infiniti announced today that the company has developed and launched an innovative retail sales and service app for its retailers, ICAR-X (Infiniti Client Acquisition and Retention Experience), that streamlines the car-buying process.

ICAR-X, a newly developed software tool, enables Infiniti retailers to deliver a more efficient and premium sales experience using cutting-edge mobile technology. ICAR-X is designed to minimize known client “pain points,” system redundancies and significantly speed up the car-buying process, thereby improving client satisfaction and the overall experience.

The most critical aspect of the dealership experience is the time clients spend in store, and according to an Autotrader Dealer Sourcing Study, customer satisfaction is at its highest within the first 90 minutes on the day of purchase. However, that number begins declining once time spent goes beyond 1.5 hours. At 2.5 hours, satisfaction drops below a buyers’ average level of satisfaction.

This fact has also been evidenced according to the J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study, which further clarifies that the customer satisfaction begins to drop significantly after just two hours spent at the dealership.

“The total amount of time spent during the sales process is a critical driver of client satisfaction,” said Jon Finkel, global director of Infiniti Client Experience. “Infiniti developed ICAR-X to eliminate many of the redundancies and inefficiencies inherent in today’s vehicle purchase process that typically frustrate clients. ICAR-X will lead the way to fundamentally change the car buying and selling process and set a new benchmark in luxury retail client service.”

Historically, Infiniti has helped to move the automotive industry forward as a customer-oriented company, and during the brand’s launch in 1989, it introduced the then-revolutionary client experience program, the “Infiniti Total Ownership Experience®.” This program was first to provide service loan cars and roadside assistance to Infiniti owners under the basic New Vehicle Limited Warranty period, and it further expanded to provide the Infiniti Personal Assistant.

Seeking to further enhance the client experience, ICAR-X is Infiniti’s next step in luxury offerings while once again revolutionizing the sales experience and retaining premium loyalty.

Infiniti is the first automotive brand to develop a retailer and client facing application that fully integrates the sales and service experience to significantly reduce the time spent at a dealership, which is intended to increase overall client satisfaction. In fact, according to the Autotrader study, 72 percent of those polled would visit a dealership if the process was significantly improved.

Key Features of the ICAR-X app include:

Client Information
From the moment the client inputs information online or in-person at an Infiniti retailer the client’s contact information is stored in the app for up to 30 days including vehicle interest, trims and location. If a client visits a different Infiniti retailer, their information is still available through the ICAR-X app, with regard to vehicle details, but not sales or deal information in order to help maintain trust amongst clients, a point that was also noted from Autotrader.

Vehicle Selection
Buyers can review local retailer inventory and price points in real time, streamlining the client selection process. Each VIN-specific vehicle listing includes a detailed description of the car’s features and packages, making it easy for ICAR-X users to determine which car they’d like to test-drive. Once the client selects a vehicle they are interested in, the salesperson can contact the lot porter to obtain the vehicle and bring it to the client.

Vehicle Presentation and Demonstration Drive
When the client arrives at the dealership, a sales consultant can use ICAR-X to review the client’s pre-selected vehicle interest and preferences. This allows the sales consultant to customize the vehicle presentation and demonstration drive by highlighting the buyer’s interests first.

Investment Proposal and Financial Transaction
Once a client decides on a specific vehicle, ICAR-X allows them to submit their credit application, review financing and leasing options and begin negotiating a deal electronically in real-time with the retailer’s sales representative. As a result, the sales consultant can remain with the client throughout the entire negotiation process, providing them with a higher level of client service.

Pre-Delivery and Delivery
As financing is finalized, the client will review a VIN specific delivery checklist in ICAR-X to prioritize the features they’d like to review with their sales consultant during their final walk-around. This eliminates wasted time going over any Infiniti features the client may already be familiar with and allows the sales consultant to focus on the client’s interests quickly and efficiently.

Owner Services
Owners can enroll in one online portal through ICAR-X that sets up Infiniti Connection™ and Infiniti Personal Assistant™ (IPA) instantaneously. ICAR-X also sends the new owner vehicle tutorials and information specific to their vehicle for their review long after the buying process is over. The sales consultant will also use the app to schedule the client’s first service appointment.

This new app is currently available to Infiniti retailers for Apple and Android tablets and will soon be available on mobile devices as well.

Infiniti QX80 rated most appealing Large Premium SUV in 2015 JD Power U.S. APEAL Study℠

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – 07.22.2015 – The 2015 Infiniti QX80 has been named the highest ranked Large Premium SUV in the annual JD Power U.S. Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) StudySM. The 2015 Infiniti Q70 ranked third in the Midsize Premium Car category. The study asks owners to evaluate their vehicles across 77 attributes, which are then combined into an overall APEAL Index score measured on a 1,000-point scale. The QX80 had a 2015 score of 877 – an improvement of 23 points over 2014 – to lead its segment. The Q70 premium sedan had a 2015 score of 873 points.

“The JD Power APEAL Study represents a deep dive into every aspect of what owners appreciate about their new purchases or leases – from appearance, driving performance and safety features to all the little details that make you fall in love with, or out of, a vehicle,” said Randy Parker, vice president, Infiniti Americas. “The large premium SUV segment includes some very impressive competitors, so it is especially gratifying to have our owners rank the QX80 at the top of the segment.”

Exterior styling, interior roominess, and ride/handling were ranked as the top reasons owners purchased the QX80. The 2015 Infiniti QX80 offers a unique combination of inspired design and performance that makes it stand out in the luxury performance SUV class. It offers a standard Infiniti Hard Drive Navigation System, available Around View® Monitor with Moving Object Detection (MOD) system, available Bose® 13-speaker Premium Audio System and available Bose® Cabin Surround® Sound System with digital 5.1 decoding and 15 speakers.

The Infiniti QX80 also has a rugged practicality that comes with a 400-horsepower 5.6-liter V8 engine capable of hauling up to eight passengers and towing up to 8,500 pounds.