Ute-based lessons coming from the relative minnow are helping Nissan refine the Navara
Mitsubishi is a minnow compared to alliance mates Renault and Nissan, but that doesn't mean it has nothing to add in the arrangement.
Speaking with media at the opening of a Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance warehouse in Melbourne, Kent O'Hara, senior vice president for after sales at the Alliance, said there were lessons for Renault/Nissan in the way Mitsubishi, comfortably the smallest member of group, goes about its business.
"I think the Mitsubishi partnership will be a good one for us, especially here in Australia," O'Hara said.
"One of the things that's been very helpful is that there's been enough specific examples – early into Mitsubishi's joining – where frankly, they're doing things at a better level of efficiency and cost level than we are," he later explained.
"It means that they have a better solution to that particular problem or opportunity that they have come up with... We've learned some stuff from Mitsubishi in just looking at the pickups, between the Navara and Triton," O'Hara went on.
"We've learned some very insightful things on the Triton pickup that I think has already been useful back into the Nissan activities, on figuring out some different improvements to improve cost and design of certain items that we have," O'Hara said, although he wouldn't be drawn on specifics.
"Because Mitsubishi hasn't had all the resources available to them, they've had to do things a little bit differently," he later said, citing the way it deals with suppliers as one such example.
Don't expect to see the convergence of the two model lines, though. Just as the Renault Koleos and its platform twin, the Nissan X-Trail, have their own distinct personalities, O'Hara said the three pillars of the Alliance were working hard to maintain their identities.
"It's critically important that each of the brands remains unique," O'Hara explained.
"If you talk to the customers of the respective brands and vehicles, they have a very unique and very different view, and an appreciation for each of those brands. We never want to do anything that alters that."