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Nissan pours cold water on Mitsubishi pick-up claim

Steady on: Nissan says it’s still too early to say which alliance member – Nissan or Mitsubishi – will take the project lead for the next-generation mid-size pick-up.

Alliance yet to appoint common pick-up platform development leader: Nissan

20 Nov 2018

By JUSTIN HILLIARD in MOROCCO

NISSAN Motor Company says the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance member that will develop its next-generation common mid-size pick-up platform is yet to be determined, refuting Mitsubishi Motors Corporation’s recent claim that it will take the lead on the program.
 
Nissan’s global frame-based SUVs and pick-ups chief product specialist Pedro de Anda has revealed he was aware that Mitsubishi’s chief operating officer Trevor Mann had told journalists, including GoAuto, earlier this month that Nissan’s 4x4 and frame-based vehicle expertise should ensure it leads the development of the next Mitsubishi Triton, Nissan Navara, Renault Alaskan and other vehicles on the same platform.
 
“They have their reasons for saying that, but we said when the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance was created that we’re looking to synergies,” Mr de Anda told Australian journalists at an international light-commercial vehicle drive event in Er-Rachidia, Morocco, last weekend. 
 
“We have the plan that eventually when our product cycles align, we’ll share a platform, (but) it’s a little bit too early. We’ve just been in the partnership for a year and a half.
 
“The goal of having a common platform – and maybe not only for the pick-up, but for the (other) vehicles – is clear, and we’ve said that aloud. Which platform, who will do what … eventually we will be able to confirm.”
 
Mr de Anda was complimentary of the recently facelifted Triton but said its success does not necessarily mean the next-generation Navara will have Mitsubishi-led underpinnings.
 
“I really want to give confidence of how good their pick-up is and how much trust they have in it,” he said.
 
“Whether that (means) Nissan will simply give up and give all the development to Mitsubishi and just get the platform like that, that’s a little bit different.”
 
When asked by GoAuto if the alliance’s common-platform pick-ups will have a similar relationship to the mechanically related current-generation Navara and Alaskan, which look more or less identical inside and out, Mr de Anda said this will not be the case.
 
“We want to maintain brand identity,” he said. “We have different brands, different customers, so (with) the common platform … and taking the best of the best, so a more efficient and capable vehicle, the rest has to be unique.
 
“You will see different vehicles, different cabins and different interiors – that’s our direction.
 
“This is the first pick-up that Renault does, so for them this is kind of like their pilot program, their first venture into the segment.
 
“(If) Renault succeeds and wishes to continue, I would expect that differentiation to expand.”
 
Mr de Anda added that the exterior differentiation could extend as far as unique glasshouses, while bespoke body panels are a near certainty.
 
“When you do those collaborations and … the glasshouse has a true benefit or an iconic shape, it’s unique to one of the models,” he said.
 
“If it’s a simple glasshouse and there’s no design element associated to the glass, then it’s more efficient to share it, but the panels, they have design elements. The shapes of the vehicle are defined by the panels.”
 
The next-generation Navara and Triton could also be separated by their rear suspension setups, with the Navara featuring a five-link coil-spring arrangement on top-end dual-cab variants while the Triton employs traditional leaf springs.
 
Meanwhile, given the current-generation Navara and Triton’s mechanical relationship with their seven-seat large SUV siblings, the Terra and Pajero Sport respectively, Mr de Anda said the latter two models are also likely to converge.
 
“Pajero Sport and Terra could just be like eventually with the pick-ups,” he said. “We expect this alignment with the platform.”
 
As reported, Nissan Australia has its hand up for the Terra, but local emissions and safety regulations are so far preventing its introduction.

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