By on February 12, 2010

BusinessWeek reports that Nissan could be up a certain creek without a certain instrument. In Europe, Nissan competes in the low cost, city car segment (just below cars like the Toyota Yaris and Honda Jazz) by selling a rebadged Suzuki Alto which they call the “Nissan Pixo”. This car competes with the Toyota Aygo/Peugeot 107/Citroen C1, Fiat Panda and the Volkswagen Fox (which is curious, because the BW article says “Volkswagen Lupo” which hasn’t been sold in Europe since 2005). But since Suzuki got a German partner (insert your own Bertel Schmitt reference here), the Pixo is looking a bit left out in the cold. The burning question: would Suzuki carry on supplying Nissan with cars or would the Wolfsburg Warriors put pressure on Suzuki to say “Nein”?

“We don’t know yet whether that strategy is still good with Suzuki joining Volkswagen,” Nissan Executive Vice President Colin Dodge said in an interview. “A lot of people believe not, and we’re thinking about it.” Suzuki were even more vague as their spokesperson couldn’t reached for comment and Volkswagen had no comment to make.

This situation will need clarifying as fuel costs get driven up, climate change taxes come into play and more and more cars come on the road, the city car segment will become increasingly more important. Nissan can’t afford to ignore that market and don’t think Renault will be able to help. The cheapest regular car which Renault sell is the Renault Twingo Extreme at £9279, which is £2284 more than cheapest Nissan Pixo model. No, this is a problem which Nissan will have to figure out themselves, or, at the very least with help from partners like Dacia or Bajaj. In any case, the Pixo will have to be replaced on the cheap. After all, we wouldn’t want Nissan dragging into another loss, would we?

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4 Comments on “VW-Suzuki Deal Means City Car Problems For Nissan...”

  • avatar

    Hmm…interesting. Volkswagen does sell a re-badged Chrysler minivan, and Chrysler used to be deeply involved with Mitsubishi. But Suzuki has a stretched previous-gen Chevy Equinox and makes the Sedici for FIAT, which now owns Chrysler, and used to be part-owned by GM, which owns Daewoo and makes the Chevy Spark and Aveo, both city cars competing with the Pixo and Fox. Nissan also makes the Equator for Suzuki…gahhh!

  • avatar

    The bigger question here is if they cut-out Nissan, who is next, and where do they stop?

    I don’t remember specifically how many, but Mazda was selling about half-a-dozen badge-engineered Suzuki vehicles (Scrum van and truck, Carol, x, y, z, and my personal fav., the “LaPuta”.)

    At one point, within the last 10 years, Suzuki was the most successful seller of Kei-cars, and most successful manufacturer of “private label” tiny cars to other OEM’s.

  • avatar

    In this segment, cloning seems to just be a way to move more metal. If you can have Toyota Aygo/Peugeot 107/Citroen C1 clones, why not Nissan/VW?

  • avatar

    If VW would simply sell the Lupo diesel in America (which gets 78 mpg), and put up with the critics, they could capture the high mileage car market in the US and then add more models on top of that one. Whoever gets a truly cheap high mileage car to America will capture the market. VW could do it, but their VP’s apparently are scared.

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