Sometimes it’s the little throwaway paragraphs that tell you the most. TTAC pounced on this one:
Renault-Nissan announced today in Detroit that its Decherd, Tenn., plant will build Mercedes-Benz 4-cylinder engines for Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz starting in 2014.
I’m not quite sure which is the more startling news: that Daimler is outsourcing engine production to the States yes, they build Benzes in America, but we’re talking mostly the M-Class, which hardly seems suited to a four-banger or that Infiniti, which hasn’t had a four in a car since the demise of the G20 a decade ago, has decided that they need one.
Deep speculation: Mercedes, for CAFE reasons, may want to bring the B-Class to the States for the first time. The current B-Class is offered with an optional CVT; your current go-to guys for CVT-related technology are Nissan and Audi, and Daimler would rather suck smart cars through a straw than buy anything from the VW Group. So when this new four comes out of Decherd, the engines bound for Benzland will be fitted with the appropriate hardware for a CVT, which might even be one of Nissan Jatco’s.
As for Infiniti, they presumably don’t need a four in the G: they’ve already conjured up an entry-level G25 with a small V6. The question then becomes “What would BMW do?” The Bavarians have already shown the way: they’ve brought out a 1-series just below the 3, and are reported to be working on a small FWD car. Besides the Mini, I mean. Since the Nissan Bluebird/Sylphy is about due for a rework … but maybe I’m getting ahead of myself here.