Joint Mercedes-Nissan engine plant breaks ground in the US
Mercedes Benz and Nissan are moving towards small, four-cylinder direct injection, turbocharged engines for their premium models. Since neither has a premium four in North American production now, they have teamed up to produce a common engine. They chose a United Auto Workers plant in Flint Michigan as their location – NOT. Actually, the 400 new jobs created will be in a state selected specifically for its non-union reputation.
Since GM failed and went through a government controlled bankruptcy one of its largest shareholders has been the UAW. Setting aside the question of whether the UAW provides manufacturers with a competitive wage and benefits scale in the global market, or the North American market, why would any automaker ever again build a plant that would be staffed by shareholders of its main rival? Like VW, Mercedes and Nissan chose Tennessee, a “Right-To-Work” state, for this new plant.
Until recently there was some question as to whether a four-cylinder engine of any type would be accepted by buyers of premium models. That has helped be answered by BMW. BMW boldly moved away from its legendary in-line six configuration, known by fans as the “sweet-six”, towards a 1.8 liter turbocharged and direct injected engine. Enthusiasts have grudgingly admitted that in the base versions of the models it is being used in, the engine is preferable to the base six-cylinder it replaced. Similarly, GM is now pushing its 2.0 liter turbo in Buick and Cadillac ATS models.
The Nissan-Mercedes Benz alliance in Tennessee continues two trends; the move away from union manufacturing of automobiles in North America, and the move towards smaller, turbocharged engines in vehicles.
Video courtesy of Youtube.com and NissanNewsroom