Renault, Nissan and Daimler will swap stakes and jointly develop cars in a tie-up that could lead to combined savings of $5.35 bn (£3.5bn) over five years.
Renault and Daimler have been discussing cooperation plans for some months as carmakers worldwide seek partnerships that boost their competitiveness by sharing technology investment costs and gaining scale and access to new markets.
The three carmakers said yesterday they would take small stakes in each other. Renault and Nissan chief executive Carlos Ghosn told Le Monde the companies could raise their cross-shareholdings in future.
The car sector is scrambling to meet tightening emissions reduction rules as it emerges from a savage downturn that has highlighted the need for profit-chasing carmakers to boost scale, conquer new markets and increase efficiency.
Ghosn said the 11-year-old Renault alliance with Nissan could expect to draw considerable synergies from the partnership with Daimler as a new partner over the next five years.