Mitsubishi Might Share Future Pickup Platforms With Nissan

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Mitsubishi Motors needs a pickup truck for the U.S. and Nissan wants a cheaper one for the global market. While the Red Diamonds’ Raider filled a ten year gap in the company’s lineup after the American discontinuation of the Mighty Max in 1996, sales were disappointing and production ended back in 2009. Now Mitsubishi and its new parent Nissan are investigating joint production of pickup trucks in Southeast Asia as they hunt for savings within the Renault-Nissan partnership.

The two Japanese automakers may combine the technical basis and eventual production of the future replacements for the South Asian-built Nissan Navara and Mitsubishi Triton, Mitsubishi chief operating officer Trevor Mann said in an interview at the Geneva car show.

“If you look at our cost performance in that region, we are the benchmark within the alliance,” Mann told Reuters. “Our four-by-four technology, our cost base on pickups is better than Nissan’s.”

That means Mitsubishi’s pickup architectures are likely to underpin subsequent Nissan models, said Mann, who was assigned by alliance head Carlos Ghosn to turn the failing Mitsubishi around after Nissan dropped $2.3 billion for a 34 percent controlling stake last October.

While Nissan and Mitsubishi both produce frame-based pickups and cars, the vehicles have elemental manufacturing and design differences. Moving to shared architectures would allow the Mitsubishi factory to focus on pickups while the Nissan plant continues to produce cars and SUVs, increasing productivity and lowering costs for both brands, Mann said.

Although, he was also careful to say that nothing had been set in stone. The current Navara and Triton models were launched in 2014 and neither are due for replacement until 2022, meaning development decisions should still be a couple years away. However, under a common platform it might be easier to get Mitsubishi trucks back into other markets — maybe even the United States and Canada if the cooperative truck platform extends beyond Asian assembly.

[Image: Mitsubishi Motors]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Sirwired Sirwired on Mar 13, 2017

    I think this is more about the world market than the US. I don't understand why Nissan doesn't just pull the plug on Mitsubishi here; unless there is some real financial wizardry going on in Mitsu's production lines that make those products profitable, there's just no point in continuing to sell them in the US.

    • See 1 previous
    • Sirwired Sirwired on Mar 14, 2017

      @Big Al from Oz And that's great, and makes sense. What doesn't make sense is selling it as a Mitsubishi in the US, with the attendant pathetic dealer network, poor reputation as Subprime-Mart and BHPH-fodder.

  • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Mar 13, 2017

    "While the Red Diamonds' Raider filled a ten year gap..." Even then, it was just a workup of a Dakota, built right in Michigan. Not much Mitsubishi about it.

  • 3-On-The-Tree Lou_BCsame here I grew up on 2-stroke dirt bikes had a 1985 Yamaha IT200 2-strokes then a 1977 Suzuki GT750 2-stroke 750 streetike fast forward to 2002 as a young flight school Lieutenant I bought a 2002 suzuki Hayabusa 1300 up in Huntsville Alabama. Still have that bike.
  • Milton Rented one for about a month. Very solid EV. Not as fun as my Polestar, but for a go to family car, solid. Practical EV ownership is only made possible with a home charger.
  • J Love mine, but the steering wheel blocks dashboard a bit, can't see turn signals nor headlights icons. They could use the upper corners of the screen for the turn signals. Mileage is much lower than shown too, disappointing
  • Aja8888 NO!
  • OrpheusSail I once did. My first four cars were American made, and through an odd set of circumstances surrounding a divorce, I wound up with a '95 Nissan Maxima which was fourteen years old and had about 150,000 miles on it.It was drove better, had an amazing engine, and was more reliable than any of my American cars. This included a new '95 GMC pickup that went through five alternators in under two years while the dealership insisted that there was no underlying electrical problem while they tried to run the clock on the warranty.That was the end of 'buy American'. I've bought from Honda and VW since, and I'll consider just about anything except American now.