MUSKOKA LAKES, Ontario -- Mercedes-Benz may build the next-generation CLA compact car in Mexico as part of a joint venture with Nissan, Daimler Chairman Dieter Zetsche told Automotive News.
A decision will be made by early next year, Zetsche said at a press event here.
The CLA would be assembled at a Nissan plant in Aguascalientes, Mexico, beginning in 2018. Nissan would expand the plant for Mercedes assembly, Zetsche said.
Nissan has said it will enlarge the plant to build a derivative for its Infiniti brand.
The first generation of the CLA, which goes on sale this fall, is built in Hungary. But Zetsche said Mercedes wants to reduce its exposure to currency swings by increasing production in North America.
"Mexico is the best location for the United States," he said, adding that a joint venture with Nissan would make more economic sense than a new factory.
The CLA would be built in Mexico because "it is the highest-production car for the United States," coming off the new front-wheel-drive platform that also is used for the B-class hatchback, the GLA crossover and the A-class hatchback.