VW-Suzuki Deal Means City Car Problems For Nissan

Cammy Corrigan
by Cammy Corrigan
vw suzuki deal means city car problems for nissan

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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  • Lostjr Lostjr on Feb 13, 2010

    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?

  • Eastcoastcar Eastcoastcar on Feb 13, 2010

    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.

  • Ollicat I have a Spyder. The belt will last for many years or 60,000-80,000 miles. Not really a worry.
  • Redapple2 Cadillac and racing. Boy those 2 go together dont they? What a joke. Up there with opening a coffee shop in NYC. EvilGM be clowning. Again.
  • Jbltg Rear bench seat does not match the front buckets. What's up?
  • Theflyersfan The two Louisville truck plants are still operating, but not sure for how much longer. I have a couple of friends who work at a manufacturing company in town that makes cooling systems for the trucks built here. And they are on pins and needles wondering if or when they get the call to not go back to work because there are no trucks being made. That's what drives me up the wall with these strikes. The auto workers still get a minimum amount of pay even while striking, but the massive support staff that builds components, staffs temp workers, runs the logistics, etc, ends up with nothing except the bare hope that the state's crippled unemployment system can help them keep afloat. In a city where shipping (UPS central hub and they almost went on strike on August 1) and heavy manufacturing (GE Appliance Park and the Ford plants) keeps tens of thousands of people employed, plus the support companies, any prolonged shutdown is a total disaster for the city as well. UAW members - you're not getting a 38% raise right away. That just doesn't happen. Start a little lower and end this. And then you can fight the good fight against the corner office staff who make millions for being in meetings all day.
  • Dusterdude The "fire them all" is looking a little less unreasonable the longer the union sticks to the totally ridiculous demands ( or maybe the members should fire theit leadership ! )