Ghosn spoke with media including CarAdvice today about broad strategies once Nissan’s planned 34 per cent controlling buy-in to the Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) is operational.
He said the next-generation Navara and Triton would be developed separately but likely share architecture as a starting point. This is the same basic relationship as that between the stylistically very different Ford Ranger and Mazda BT-50.
“[It’s] very possible that we are going to use the same platform, but we're going to develop the cars differently because the customers are not the same," he said.
“But instead of two different platforms we can have them on the same platform but be completely different products. The cost of development and purchasing will be lower. A common platform, but different developments.”
This suggests that Mitsubishi and Nissan will use the same platform — whether it’ll be co-developed, or Nissan-developed and licensed to MMC remains to be seen — but design the cars independently. Powertrain sharing details are less clear.
Given new versions of the NP300 Navara and Triton launched just last year, the next-generation platform-sharing versions are years away anyhow. We won’t see them until well beyond 2020, given current development rates.
Nissan is already big on sharing its NP300 Navara architecture, with Alliance partner Renault and global collaborator Mercedes-Benz both poised to spin-off their own re-bodied ute versions of the NP300.
Reflecting the cost-effective, development-sharing nature of the ute business, MMC also licenses the Triton to Fiat Chrysler in South America, where the Fiat brand sells a repackaged Triton called the Fiat Fullback.
As reported, Nissan announced a bid this week to take a controlling stake in Mitsubishi Motors of 34 per cent, costing it about $2.9 billion. The deal will see Mitsubishi brought into the Ghosn-led Nissan-Renault Alliance, which also includes a partnership with Daimler.
One of the key benefits of the deal, which is in the Memorandum of Understanding phase, is the sharing of platforms between the companies, cutting costs through greater scale and shared research, purchasing and even manufacturing expenses.
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