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Nissan to partner with Renault on vans

Rebadged Renault Trafic, Kangoo could signal Nissan Australia’s return to vans

23 Nov 2018

By JUSTIN HILLIARD in MOROCCO

MITSUBISHI Motors Corporation may not be the only Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance member to call upon Renault for a rebadged van, with Nissan Motor Company revealing it is exploring similar opportunities outside of its own existing NV-series model line-up.
 
MMC announced earlier this month that it would exclusively sell its own version of the Trafic mid-size van in Australia and New Zealand, with the yet-to-be-named model to hit showrooms by 2020.
 
Speaking to Australian journalists last weekend at an international light-commercial vehicle drive event in Morocco, NMC frame-based SUVs and pick-ups chief product specialist Pedro de Anda said that Renault would share its van expertise with both alliance members, although the specifics of the deal have not yet been locked in.
 
“I can’t confirm for you any market or any model, but as part of the alliance, there is this intention that Nissan will capitalise on the synergies that they have with Renault and the vans,” he said.
 
“You will expect a lot more collaboration, with Renault sharing their assets and knowledge on the vans.”
 
As mentioned, NMC already has the NV-series range, but none of the models are sold Down Under, despite Nissan Australia’s attempts over the years to establish a strong right-hand-drive business case that would see it have a presence again in the van segment.
 
As such, NMC may return Down Under with a Renault-based model, such as a rebadged Trafic, which is readily available in right-hand drive from the factory.
 
Such a strategy would mimic that of MMC, which will source its mid-size van from Renault’s Sandouville facility in France.
 
When asked by GoAuto if the company still has interest in having a van, Nissan Australia general manager of corporate communications, Karla Leach, said it does but did not offer any more details.
 
“We are always looking for vehicles to best suit our customer’s needs and believe a van would work well for Nissan in Australia,” he said.
 
Alternatively, Nissan Australia could enter the small-van segment with the NV250, which will share its next-generation platform with Renault’s Kangoo, another model already sold Down Under. The all-new NV250 and Kangoo will be sourced from the Maubeuge plant in France.
 
The overall van segment this year commands a 2.0 per cent share of the Australia new-vehicle market to the end of October, at 19,890 units.
 
In their current respective segments, the Trafic (1657 units) is being outsold by the Toyota HiAce (5812) and Hyundai iLoad (3682), while the Kangoo (710) only trails the Volkswagen Caddy (1689).

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