Chrysler and Nissan Consider More Product-Sharing

The new Dodge Logan?

By Brendan Moore

08.07.2008

The Wall Street Journal says that Chrysler LLC is in talks with Nissan to jointly produce mid-size cars. The two companies have already inked deals to share a full-size pickup truck (the Dodge Ram will become the new Nissan Titan) and a sub-compact car (the Nissan Versa will become a Chrysler product as-yet-unnamed), so now it looks as if they’re going for the big fat middle of the market.

I have no doubt that this report is accurate. Just what Chrysler is going to do to survive in terms of product has been a subject of speculation here at Autosavant; they don’t have a huge inventory of overseas fuel-sipping product to draw on like Ford, and they don’t have a lot of new product in the pipe and a large amount of international models to choose from like GM. So where does that leave them?

It leaves them where they are now, trying to do a deal with someone to get some product they can sell on a private-label basis until they develop something of their own. Or, as others have conjectured, until they can get Chrysler in a good enough financial condition to sell the company. Either way, they need a partner, because they have next to nothing on their own. They need someone else’s vehicle that they can put their badge on so they live another day as a company.

Chrysler has already signed a deal with Chery, the Chinese automaker that will bring Chrysler a sub-compact at some point, and is currently in talks with Tata regarding a version of the Nano, but a tie-up with Nissan would have much larger ramifications for the American manufacturer. The volumes produced by a joint effort with Nissan would be much larger, and the potential long-term ripples would be of far greater importance.

It is now not inconceivable that Chrysler could be brought into the Renault-Nissan orbit fairly soon in the future, which would have some interesting effects on the American market and to a lesser extent, in some of Renault-Nissan’s international markets. Imagine a Dodge version of the hot-selling Renault Logan in the U.S. or small commercial vehicles developed off Dodge truck platforms for sale in other countries under the Renault or Nissan brand.

Neither Nissan or Chrysler would comment on the report, but this is not the end of this story by a long shot. Look for some announcement in the next thirty days, even if it pertains to just one vehicle initially.

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Author: Brendan Moore

Brendan Moore is a Principal Consultant with Cedar Point Consulting , a management consulting practice based in the Washington, DC area. He also manages Autosavant Consulting, a separate practice within Cedar Point Consulting. where he advises businesses connected to the auto industry. Cedar Point Consulting can be found at http://www.cedarpointconsulting.com.

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7 Comments

  1. It won’t be long before we think of CRN (Chrysler-Renault-Nissan) or CNR (Chrysler-Nissan-Renault, but the CNR abbreviation might confuse with Canadian National railroad) unless it’s RNC (Renault-Nissan-Chrysler) 😉

    My guess is then RN will let more autonomy to Chrysler for different designs while using the Renault/Nissan platforms and/or drivetrains in a scenario similar to Peugeot and Citroen even if they are now under the same umbrella.

    For the Logan, I already mentionned in a earlier post then the Logan could be a new Dodge Dart or “Dodge Rambler” (a good opportunity to revive the Rambler nameplate) or even…Plymouth if some think then the Logan is too fancy for Dodge.

    I begin to think of other possibilities like for example the next-gen Challenger, 350Z/Skyline GT-R using the same platform. Or the next-gen LX cars known under the codename “LY” might span a Infiniti variant (although I’d like to see the DeSoto nameplate revived, looks like I might be the only Gen-Xer who like to see DeSoto reborn from the ashes ^_^;;). Back for the Challenger, it could be marketed as a “poor’s man Skyline GT-R” like the VW Karmann-Ghia was once known as the “poor’s man Porsche” but I think some fans might not like a lot this idea.

  2. I like the Logan as a reborn Rambler or Valiant. Chrysler would sell many of these in today’s climate. Chrsyler needs this vehicle and, seemingly, Renault-Nissan could use Chrysler’s truck and SUV expertise. This seems a much better alliance than the rumored GM-Nissan pact of a few years ago.

    My sister-in-law’s wedding a few months back was presided over by a Romanian minister. After the ceremony, we chatted about–what else?–Dacias.

  3. RNC=Republican National Committee, so that’s a no-go as well. 🙂

    I think Rambler is a terrible name for any new car. Do you want a car that rambles down the road? The name conjures images for me of something with thin sheetmetal and no sound insulation. It’d be like naming a new car “Studebaker.” The associations – rightfully or not – do not speak to something modern or quality.

  4. the new dodge dart is what the chrysler version of the logan should be. chrysler could sell a bajillion of these things right now

  5. Chris. I taught of Rambler because of the old Nash Rambler who became the Rambler American when AMC focused on Rambler and dropped Nash and Hudson (the Nash Ambassador was then sold as the Ambassador by Rambler shortly and later “Rambler Ambassador”.

    Studebaker would be nice, but we had to check who currently own the trademarks of the name. Then another name would be the Metropolitan as a nod to the Nash Metropolitan.

    Then there might be other name choices by exploring Chrysler’s family tree: Valiant (who was briefly a separate division before it became a Plymouth), Nash, Hudson, Kaiser, Frazer, Willys, Overland, Chalmers, Maxwell and Plymouth & DeSoto. (If Nissan plan a small RWD platform, a small "premium" sedan could be sold as a revived DeSoto. Looks I have to stop here before my imagination go more weirder Lol )

  6. I just want to add a pinch of salt about the Logan.

    The folks of CWWCardesign who do lots of edited cars pics with Photoshop or other softwares, created a “what if” with this very nice rendering of a Logan 2-door coupe I wish to see a Logan coupe, maybe it could be a new “Plymouth Duster” or Dodge SRT-4 if we put a turbo engine under the hood and/or a AWD drivetrain 😉

  7. Chrysler is done, stick a fork in them.

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