Chrysler and Nissan Consider More Product-Sharing
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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