The Franco-Japanese alliance Renault-Nissan and Germany's Daimler on Friday announced plans to expand their four-year cooperation partnership with a new plant in the central Mexican state of Aguascalientes.

The two partners will share equally in the estimated 1-billion-euro ($1.4-billion) investment cost of the project, which will kick off next year.

Production of Infiniti models is scheduled to begin in 2017, with Mercedes-Benz vehicles to start rolling off the assembly line the following year.

The companies will add some 5,700 jobs by the time the plant reaches full annual capacity of 300,000 next-generation compact vehicles in around 2021.

The new Aguascalientes plant represents the partners' biggest joint project to date, Renault-Nissan Alliance Chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn and Daimler Chairman Dieter Zetsche said via videoconference from Paris and Stuttgart, respectively.

The cooperation encompasses research, design and production, but the Infiniti and Mercedes vehicles manufactured at the jointly run plant are to each preserve their unique brand identities and characteristics.

The industrial cooperation partnership between Daimler and Renault-Nissan began in April 2010 with a focus on Europe and has grown to include roughly a dozen projects.

"Just over four years after the cooperation was founded, the decision for the new plant in Mexico is a major milestone," Zetsche said, while Ghosn said the new project shows that the collaboration between Renault-Nissan and Daimler "has become global in scope."

The two partners will benefit from Nissan's experience in Aguascalientes, where its presence dates back to 1992 and it launched the first phase of a $2 billion manufacturing complex last November.

Mexico also is an important market for Daimler, which makes trucks and transport vehicles in the Latin American country. EFE