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Navara and Triton to share platform

Joining forces: The alliance between Nissan and Mitsubishi will result in a shared light-commercial ute in next-generation guise.

Mitsubishi brand and factories will be maintained after Nissan takes big stake

Mitsubishi logo16 May 2016

THE next-generation Triton and Navara pick-ups will likely be built on the same platform and other model and technology sharing is almost certain following Nissan Motor Company’s decision to buy a strategic 34 per cent stake in Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC).

Another outcome relating to the tie-in includes faster development of electrified vehicles thanks to MMC’s expertise in plug-in hybrids, but there is unlikely to be any changes in the number of production facilities or a rationalisation of dealer networks, Renault-Nissan Alliance chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn told journalists during a teleconference following the share acquisition announcement late last week.

When questioned about the fact that both Nissan and MMC were strong in utilities, Mr Ghosn said it was “very possible” the Navara and the Triton would be built on the same platform in future.

“However the specifications are totally different, resulting in totally different products that have a distinct look and feel according to each company’ s brand,” he said. “Instead of two platforms, we can make two cars on one platform.

“The costs will be lower. We will have a common platform and different products.” Similarly in vehicle electrification, Mr Ghosn said the two companies would pool their resources to produce new electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids in a more efficient and timely manner.

“Yes, we think this (alliance) will bring faster roll-out. We both have platforms for electric cars and we can work together on one platform.

“There is some technology that MMC has that Nissan doesn’t have, for instance plug-in hybrid technology. This is good for Nissan.

“We can immediately leverage their platform, reducing our technology development costs, and MMC can increase scale which will decrease their development costs.

“However the vehicles we produce will look different as both companies have different specs, but the core technological aspects are the same.” The companies would also collaborate on the development of autonomous vehicles, according to Mr Ghosn, an area that Nissan has been pursuing for some time.

“I can say that we will have joint development. We will share development of existing autonomous drive technology. This means for Nissan and MMC we will pay less money for a better outcome. Connectivity is the same.” He said the companies would co-operate across the product range to cut platform development costs, but the vehicles would differ in flavour.

“What the customer will see and experience will be totally different, in line with the brand DNA of both brands. The MMC brand, Nissan brand and Renault brand are all different.” Mr Ghosn said bringing the two companies closer together would help improve each brand’s performance in markets where the other is stronger. For instance, MMC would bring market strength in South-East Asia, where Nissan has lagged over the years.

“MMC is stronger in South-East Asia, Nissan is strong in the US and Europe. So we have specific strengths.

“In no way is this tie-up limited to the growth of one company or the other. You should see stronger companies that aggressively support each other.” Mr Ghosn said he was not concerned that the Nissan or Renault brands would be impacted by MMC’s recent admission that it had manipulated the fuel economy figures of more than 625,000 Mitsubishi and Nissan-badged mini cars in Japan.

“Not at all. The reputation of Renault has been consistent for the last 17 years and has no impact on Nissan. And vice-versa.” Mr Ghosn was adamant there would be no rationalisation of either production facilities or dealer networks.

“For marketing and sales there will be a complete separation of the companies. For example, we have never consolidated sales and marketing at Nissan and Renault over our 16-year alliance either.

“Some dealers might have two brands in one showroom. But marketing and sales will be totally separate and distinct, in line with the brand identities of both companies.” The larger network of manufacturing operations would provide opportunities, not problems.

“We don’t see excess capacity. We will have the ability to cross manufacture in one or other company’s plant. We may build some MMC product in Nissan plants, and vice versa."

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