April 29, 2017
As part of a plan to reduce costs and maximise co-operation, the Renault-Nissan alliance has announced that it will be combining the light commercial vehicle (LCV) divisions of Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi into a single business unit.
The new unit will be headed by senior vice president Ashwani Gupta, vice president of Renault’s LCV department. He was previously global program director for Nissan’s relaunched Datsun brand.
One of the first tasks for the unit is integrating the newly-acquired Mitsubishi Motors as part of the alliance. At present, Mitsubishi produces its own pick-up models – the main one being the L200 – however it now seems inevitable that future models will be based on platforms built and shared by Renault and Nissan.
A Mitsubishi van programme has been pretty much absent for the last decade, so it is very likely that some Mitsubishi vans will reappear. Our money is on yet ANOTHER Renault Trafic clone to go along with the new Nissan NV300.
Both manufacturers have clear strengths within the alliance. Renault is considered the leader on vans, while Nissan’s strengths lie in pick-ups and SUVs. The Renault Trafic and Master vans are both already sold as Nissans in Europe, while the imminent Renault Alaskan pick-up is based on the Nissan Navara.
What this means for the alliance’s existing external partnerships is unclear. Mercedes, Vauxhall and Fiat all have links to the alliance; the Renault Kangoo is the base for the Mercedes Citan while the Trafic is also sold as the Fiat Talento and Vauxhall Vivaro. The Renault Master is also sold as a Vauxhall Movano and Fiat’s new Fullback pickup is based on a Mitsubishi L200.
What happens with the announced-but-not-launched Mercedes X-Class, based on the Nissan Navara, is anyone’s guess.
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