SANTA MONICA, CA - Daimler, Nissan and Renault confirmed a wide-ranging partnership this week that includes equity stakes in each other, joint development of vehicles -- from small cars to light commercial vehicles and possibly luxury cars -- and technology sharing on batteries, electric cars and powertrains for small to luxury autos.

“Even though Daimler’s marriage record isn’t great, automakers must collaborate to meet more stringent emission and fuel economy standards during these tough economic times,” reports Senior Analyst Michelle Krebs in her analysis on “Technology research and development is expensive, yet small cars deliver low profit margins.”

“The wildcard element of this deal is how the two alpha dogs heading the companies will run together,” says Bill Visnic, senior editor, Edmunds’