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by Karl Peskett

Under an expanded product sharing alliance announced today, Chrysler LLC will become Nissan’s pickup truck manufacturer, while Nissan will make small cars for Chrysler.

The agreement means Nissan will discontinue making its Titan utility, a large V8-engined vehicle designed for the US market, when Chrysler starts making Nissan-badged trucks in 2011.

In exchange, Chrysler will get a Nissan-based small car, built at Nissan’s Oppama, Japan, factory to Chrysler’s own design starting in 2010.

The new car is destined for North America, Europe and other global markets, possibly including Australia.

Chrysler Australia Public Relations Manager Jerry Stamoulis said: “The vehicle will be available to international markets, however it is too early to comment on which specific markets will have access to these vehicles.”

The Nissan-based small car will be built on a new Nissan platform to an already-completed Chrysler design, according to Chrysler co-President Tom LaSorda. He wouldn’t say whether the design would be based on the Dodge Hornet concept car.

LaSorda said the deal will have no impact on its ongoing venture with Chinese carmaker Chery Automobile Co. The two companies continue to work jointly on products for North America and other markets, he said.

“At some point we believe we need more than one small car,” for North America, LaSorda said. “We would be counting on Chery to provide that.”

The Nissan-based small car will be built on a new platform, however at the same time Nissan will begin making a small car exclusively for the South American market based on the Nissan Tiida.

“Forging the right tactical partnerships is critical to the long-term success of Chrysler,” said LaSorda in a prepared statement.

The companies said they “have also agreed to maintain an open dialogue to explore further product-sharing opportunities,” according to a Chrysler press release.

LaSorda declined to discuss financial details of the agreement except to say that Chrysler would pay Nissan for vehicles the latter builds and vice versa.

David Twomey




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