Nissan halts joint development of luxury cars with Daimler
Japan Today -- Jan 09
Nissan is halting joint development of luxury cars with Daimler's Mercedes-Benz, sources close to the companies told Reuters, suspending a key project in their seven-year partnership and potentially hitting profitability at a new shared factory in Mexico.

Nissan decided in October its premium Infiniti brand would not use "MFA2", an upgraded Daimler car platform that the companies have jointly funded, in part because Infiniti was not performing well enough to absorb Mercedes technology costs, the sources said.

"It wasn't possible to close a deal on the basis of MFA2," said one of the people. "The targets set by Infiniti were too difficult to achieve."

The move could reduce efficiency at a $1 billion shared factory opening this year in Aguascalientes, Mexico, where the companies had planned to use the same compact car architecture to cut complexity and production costs, two of the sources said.

It could also ultimately force Nissan to write down part of a 250 million pound ($306 million) investment at its UK plant that included Mercedes-based tooling, they added.

Daimler and Nissan pursue joint programmes only when "beneficial for both sides", the companies said in separate statements to Reuters, without directly addressing emailed questions about their plans for MFA2 vehicles.

Projects are constantly reviewed against targets to account for "developments beyond the control of management", they added, and discussions about joint development of future premium compact cars are ongoing.

Nissan's decision deals a blow to the broad cooperation deal struck between Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn and his Daimler counterpart Dieter Zetsche in 2010.

It also underscores the mixed results of Nissan's battle over almost three decades to transform Infiniti into a significant global player in the lucrative luxury car market.

News source: Japan Today
Feb 23
After teasing us with a behind-the-scenes trailer showing Piko Taro with Canadian singer Justin Bieber on the set of their new SoftBank commercial, the telecommunications provider finally made the big reveal last week, by releasing several of the ads on their official YouTube channel. (rocketnews24.com)
Feb 23
Five Japanese companies have teamed up to re-create legendary comic book robot Astro Boy in toy form. The product marks the 90th anniversary of the birth of comic and animation master Osamu Tezuka. (NHK)
Feb 23
Crown Prince Naruhito has used the occasion of his 57th birthday to express his readiness to ascend the throne as Emperor Akihito is expected to abdicate as soon as next year. (Japan Times)
Feb 23
The government's Headquarters for Earthquake Research Promotion newly added 16 faults to a list of major active fault zones in which a magnitude-7 or larger earthquake could occur. (the-japan-news.com)
Feb 23
Municipalities that have been protecting deer populations as a tourism resource or natural asset are now increasingly struggling with how to manage overpopulation of the animals. (the-japan-news.com)
Feb 23
Japanese government officials have marked Takeshima Day in a ceremony held in western Japan's Shimane Prefecture. (NHK)
Feb 23
The tracks of the now-defunct Takachiho Railway in Miyazaki Prefecture - discontinued due to damage caused by Typhoon No. 14 in 2005 - have been revived as a popular tourist attraction that carried 26,000 passengers in fiscal 2015. (the-japan-news.com)
Feb 23
Japan's Foreign Ministry has protested to South Korea over a video clip that calls the body of water between the Japanese archipelago and the Korean Peninsula the "East Sea" instead of the "Sea of Japan". (NHK)
Feb 23
Two Japanese cities are playing up their ninja roots to attract more domestic tourists and international travelers. (NHK)
Feb 23
Japanese women's wages hit an all-time high last year, but they continued to earn far less than men. (Nikkei)