By on August 26, 2009

Back in loony desperation of pre-bailout Cerberus-era Chrysler, plans were floated for Chrysler to build a Ram-based Nissan Titan in exchange for a ChryCo-branded version of the Nissan Versa (and possibly the Altima). Now that Fiat is running things in Auburn Hills though, Chrysler has access to modern compact and mid-sized platforms. And Fiat doesn’t want Chrysler paying Nissan to help it compete in South America, one of Fiat’s most important markets. According to Automotive News [sub], the break “leaves Nissan with a bigger problem than any facing Chrysler.” Namely, the Titan question. Wait, seriously? Nissan recently killed off the Quest and Infiniti QX56 to make more room in its Canton plant for diesel-powered light commercial vehicle production. If/when the economy does start coming back, that market could be a better place to be than the crowded, cutthroat full-size pickup market. Alternatively, Toyota is drowning in Tundra capacity. If Nissan wants to be in the pickup market so badly that it’s willing to beg for a rebadge, that seems like the place to start. Release after the jump.

Nissan and Chrysler today announced a mutual agreement to end three OEM vehicle-supply projects announced last year.

For the past several months, teams from both companies have been studying the viability of the projects in light of significant changes in business conditions since the projects were announced in January and April of 2008.

Today, it was decided it was in the best interests of both companies to end the projects.

The projects had involved:

1. Nissan providing to Chrysler a compact sedan for the South American market beginning this year.

2. Nissan providing to Chrysler a small vehicle for global markets beginning in 2010.

3. Chrysler providing to Nissan a full-size pickup truck starting in 2011.

A separate agreement involving the supply of transmissions from Nissan affiliate JATCO to Chrysler remains unchanged. That agreement has been in effect since 2004.

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11 Comments on “Nissan and Chrysler Part Ways...”

  • avatar

    I don’t know why Nissan wants a Ram so bad when the Titan is a good truck, and they spent so much money to design it. Freshen it up a bit and it’ll compete just fine.

  • avatar

    Alternatively, Toyota is drowning in Tundra capacity. If Nissan wants to be in the pickup market so badly that it’s willing to beg for a rebadge, that seems like the place to start.

    Paying to rebadge the vehicle that is the least respected by the buyers of a segment that you mightily struggled to compete in sales-wise, despite your own attempt receiving good reviews, is probably not a good idea.

  • avatar

    Japan, Inc has flopped mightily in the full size pickup market, despite decent product.

    The Titan and Tundra are busts, and the Honda Ridgeline…well, the less said about that roadgoing lump, the better.

    I doubt a rebadge would do much for either brand – the failure, I suspect, has to do with incredibly entrenched buyer preferences.

    If I were them, I’d keep improving the small pickups and build brand loyalty that way. It’ll be a very long term process.

  • avatar
    King Bojack

    Too bad we’ll probably never get that sweet looking Hornet concept.

  • avatar

    Nissan can’t possible need a Chrysler rebadge.

    Chrysler may rue the day they didn’t rebadge a Nissan, whose reputation in the US beats Fiat by kilometers.

  • avatar

    Who buys full size pickups? People that tow (how many RV manufacturers have collapsed?, are there a lot of boat sales going on?), unskilled laborers that get work building tract-housing (skilled tradesmen use vans), and people playing dress-up. That’s not a market I would want to be in now. Even if the economy stabilizes there will be a housing oversupply for a long time. Commercial trucks for real businesses, not fake cowboys, will be fine for Nissan.

    Ask Toyota. While people mock the Tundra I see Hino (Toyota’s commercial truck division) taking over the medium duty commercial truck market. All while Ford had to sell off its medium duty commerical truck division to Daimler (as Sterling – which ironically now sells a rebadged Ram as its light duty truck) and GM had to cease Topkick/Kodiak production.

  • avatar

    no_slushbox : Not to pick nits, but Ford sold its heavy truck (class 8, tandem axle >33000# GVWR) business to Daimler/Freightliner, which then renamed the business Sterling Trucks. Over time, Sterling had added Mitsubishi Fuso to gain entry into the cab forward market. They then worked a deal with Chrysler to rebadge the Ram class 4-5 chassis cab in an effort to compete with Ford in that segment. Their lack of success in all these markets led Freightliner to announce the closure of the entire Sterling brand in October.

    Hino has put forth a decent class 6-7 truck, but has miles to go to gather significant market share. Ford OWNS the medium duty (class 3-7) F350 – F750 market as an overall segment. And Nissan doesn’t even have a class 2 truck yet. The deal with Chrysler was widely believed to be the platform on which they would attempt to enter the low end of this market and work their way north.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    If the rumors about pickup truck redesigns being slowed at Ford and GM, then is it going to matter, much, if Nissan’s truck becomes a bit long-in-the-tooth? Probably not. If white collar folks cut back on the pickup trucks, then that leaves them for blue collar folks. Blue collar folks need something that’s reliable and hauls cargo. Features aren’t as important as function.

    So this might work out fine for Nissan.

    As for Chrysler and losing the contract? That doesn’t look as good. Yeah, I know they’re building product for VW, but you’re more likely to see Dick Rutan on the street than a VW Routan.

    I think this is bad for Chrysler. They could have worked the deal so they’d still build the trucks and not use Nissan’s econoboxes.

  • avatar

    Chrysler screws up yet again. Any extra volume they get selling through Nissan helps them stay in the game by keeping the cost of their trucks down relative to GM, Ford, Toyota. Nissan would take sales from Toyota, not Dodge. Now with Fix it again Tony running the show, they must have decided they no longer need a Versa rebadge. But, the Versa rebadge would sell better than the Fiats they are planning to sell in the US.

  • avatar

    “A separate agreement involving the supply of transmissions from Nissan affiliate JATCO to Chrysler remains unchanged.”

    That’s a shame because those tranny’s suck.

    Nissan is the loser here, not Chrysler. Their truck is perrenial loser in sales, it’s already long in the tooth compared to it’s competitors, and Nissan doesn’t have the money to redesign it. So you can kiss it good-bye. Chrysler needed a competive small car, and it will still get one from FIAT, but it will take longer than if they had went with the Versa, and probably won’t include a Hornet model :-(

  • avatar

    Nissan and Toyota seriously need to re-think their fullsize truck market presence. I’d go so far as saying an abandonment order is due.

    IMO, a return to the trucks they used to build is long overdue.

    The Frontier and Tacoma are more comparable to the F150s and Silverados of their respective last generation models than to the small pickups they replaced.

    This is fine, (I have one of those Tacomas and throughly enjoy it) but next a return to basics is needed. And they better hurry up before Mahindra eats both of their lunches and steals their girlfriends.

    E.G. – Mahindra Review

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