Report: Nissan to Put Alliance Partners to Work, Divvy Up Markets

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Nissan’s new restructuring plan, due out at the end of the month, is coming together, and it seems the document will spell out which members of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance will go where. In the interests of efficiency and not stepping on each other’s toes, sources claim the plan will see each automaker pour themselves into key markets, rather than competing against each other.

This will have the effect of making maximum use of resources.

For the Nissan brand, that means North America, China, and Japan will become its main stomping grounds.

The report comes to us by way of Reuters, which spoke with apparently well-placed sources who harbor knowledge of the strategy. The three-year plan will see Europe left for the likes of Renault, with Mitsubishi sent to find buyers in non-Chinese, non-Japanese Asian markets. Nissan, the sources claim, will pick up Mitsu’s plug-in hybrid technology, with Renault taking the lead on electric vehicle development.

“This is not just a cost-cutting plan,” one of the sources said. “We’re rationalising operations, reprioritising and refocusing our business to plant seeds for the future.”

Nissan’s premium division, Infiniti, has already pulled out of Western Europe, and sales were tanking in North America long before anyone heard about COVID-19. By refocusing its efforts on the region, Nissan and Infiniti might be able to stop the descent — and prevent the two divisions’ lineups from becoming threadbare. Previously, Nissan spoke of potential model culls and reduced build configurations (the latter initiative, for the time being, looks locked-in).

“The net effect is even though we reduce our R&D spend this year versus last year and make other savings, we pump those freed-up resources back into core markets and core products,” another source said.

Before the pandemic hit, Nissan was on the ropes, bleeding cash amid a global drop in sales, with North America a standout among the regions shying away from the automaker. Streamlining, in terms of workforce and fixed expenses, will still be necessary. While the new plan, expected to be revealed on May 28th, will outline the next steps, don’t expect a full retreat in the markets where various alliance members aren’t doing too hot.

Products that still have sales power will remain in the markets where they shine, the sources said. That means things like the Nissan Qashqai (Rogue Sport) and Juke in Europe, and the Patrol (Armada) SUV in the Middle East. Mitsubishi will not disappear from its homeland. Instead, lineups will be pared down to just key products.

The report is in keeping with a recent newsflash that Nissan’s planning for significantly reduced sales and production in the coming years, with little evidence of the market-share lust that characterized the automaker during the reign of former CEO Carlos Ghosn.

[Image: Nissan]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Oberkanone Oberkanone on May 05, 2020

    Nissan sells numbers in Europe of approximately 500,000 annual. For Nissan to leave Europe and cede these sales to Renault requires discipline, sacrifice and a relationship of trust with Renault. Watching Nissan will be very entertaining.

  • Vulpine Vulpine on May 05, 2020

    Here's my problem with Nissan in particular, though a couple other brands are similar: I simply refuse to consider any vehicle using a Continuously Variable Transmission, i.e. metalized belt drive. CVT has been on the market now for about 20 years and while it HAS improved, the reliability--or rather, durability--is questionable at best. By everything I've been reading, CVTs don't last any longer without a rebuild/replacement than the old 1950's vintage automatic transmissions... maybe 60k to 80k miles if you're lucky or very, VERY ginger on the throttle. At least here in the US, people don't drive like that and in some places, they simply CAN'T drive like that! Considering how much more efficient direct electrical drive is, there's really no need any more for a mechanical transmission. If Nissan really wants to make a difference, try going to an all-electric drive, even if it's powered by an ICE. The reliability factor will skyrocket. Oh, and please don't over-engineer the concept... That's what Chevy did with the Volt and that's why the Volt is no longer sold.

  • Leonard Ostrander We own a 2017 Buick Envision built in China. It has been very reliable and meets our needs perfectly. Of course Henry Ford was a fervent anti-semite and staunch nazi sympathizer so that rules out Ford products.
  • Ravenuer I would not.
  • V8fairy Absolutely no, for the same reasons I would not have bought a German car in the late 1930's, and I am glad to see a number of other posters here share my moral scruples. Like EBFlex I try to avoid Chinese made goods as much as possible. The quality may also be iffy, but that is not my primary concern
  • Tsarcasm No, Japan only. Life costs by Rank:#1 - House (150k+)#2 - Education (30k+)#3 - Automobile (30k+) why waste hard earned money in inferior crap => Korean, Chinese, and American cars are trash. a toyota or honda will last twice as long.
  • Tassos In the 90s we hired a former PhD student and friend of mine, who 'worked' at GM "Research" labs, to come work for us as a 'temp' lecturer and get paid extra. He had no objection from GM, came during the day (around 2 PM), two hours drive round trip, plus the 1.5 hour lecture, twice weekly. (basically he goofed off two entire afternoons out of the five) He told me they gave him a different model new car every month, everything (even gas) paid. Instead of him paying parking, I told him to give me the cars and I drove them for those 90 mins, did my shopping etc. Almost ALL sucked, except the Eldo coupe with the Northstar. That was a nice engine with plenty of power (by 90s standards). One time they gave him the accursed Caddy Catera, which was as fun driving as having sex with a fish, AND to make it worse, the driver's door handle broke and my friend told me GM had to pay an arm and a leg to fix it, needed to replace almost the whole damned door!