By on May 4, 2020


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]

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20 Comments on “Report: Nissan to Put Alliance Partners to Work, Divvy Up Markets...”

  • avatar

    “Mitsubishi will not disappear from its homeland. Instead, lineups will be pared down to just key products.” — …and that is??? I thought they had cut everything to the bone already!

    30 years in, time to pull the plug on Infiniti. Stop the money drain. The Q50 would make a nice Maxima and get it out of that limbo hell it’s been in since the early 2000s when the Altima took that step upwards. The next Q60 can become the 400Z or whatever they are going to name it. The rest of the lineup is just warmed over crossovers that can be trim lines on existing Nissans.

    If COVID-19 continues to linger on for the rest of 2020 and beyond, all automakers are going to have to streamline and cut a lot of fat.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree. We don’t need Infiniti, Acura or Lexus, since they’re little more than re-badged (and nose-capped) versions of their base brands anyway.

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        @ Vulpine; which Toyota sedan has a V-6 or V-8 and rear wheel drive? Yes there are the LX/Land Cruiser & GX/4runner. I think TTAC has covered both comparos. Now an ES vs an Avalon just depends.

    • 0 avatar

      “The Q50 would make a nice Maxima”

      It’d make an even nicer Nissan Skyline, and possibly get a better reception.

    • 0 avatar

      For Mitsubishi in its home market, it probably will mean ek series kei cars, Delica D5, and Outlander PHEV. Everything else is already too old, uncompetitive, and unpopular.

      As for the Q50/60, I hear they’ll finally replace the old FM platform but unfortunately with a transverse engine AWD platform using electric motor in the back (like the RAV4 hybrid). If true, I’d say that’s more Maxima than a Skyline. Infiniti can go alright.

    • 0 avatar

      Infinity can go, even though G35 was a nice car. But in the past tense. Genesis makes more tasteful cars so it will pick up the slack.

      • 0 avatar

        I suspect at the present time Genesis is still a vanity project and may not even be breaking even in the US. Hyundai will only put up with it for so long.

  • avatar

    Way back when, Mitsubishi had some good products. Even up into the early ’00s, they carried decent products, if maybe a little too specialized towards the street racer crowd. My personal favorites were their small pickup, their 3000GT (300GT in Japan, IIRC) and their Eclipse sport coupe. I owned the truck and lusted for the GT, though the sport coupe would have been the more practical (for me) car as toy. I even owned an original, Wrangler-competing Montero for a while. What they need in the US is a variety of vehicle types and NOT four almost-identical CUVs. One vehicle in each type would be plenty.

    Nissan honestly only has two vehicles of interest to me, three if you include one they no longer offer in the US, which we knew as the 200SX. Those two are the Frontier (keep it smaller, guys) and the Z-series, though I’m not the strongest fan of their current body. As for Renault, I think they’ve got some interesting cars that I would LIKE to see in the US but expect their Fiat-like obsolete reputation would prevent any meaningful penetration to the market.

  • avatar

    Just kill Infinity, nobody will miss it.

    • 0 avatar

      Infiniti’s large SUV, QX80, is quite popular, especially with high income females who would miss it. Infiniti should keep the QX80 and one crossover and discontinue the rest of its lineup. Nissan should probably discontinue the Maxima and Versa and keep just the Sentra and Altima and most of its crossovers. I would also recommend Nissan discontinue the Titan pickup truck.

      • 0 avatar

        “Infiniti’s large SUV, QX80, is quite popular, especially with high income females who would miss it.”

        “I would also recommend Nissan discontinue the Titan pickup truck.”

        What do you think the QX80 is, besides ugly af?

  • avatar

    Wonder if PSA-FCA will “wise up” on this as well or plow forward with ideas like selling Peugeot in the USA?

    • 0 avatar

      They might sell a 508 but put a Chrysler nameplate on it. Peugeot has gone upscale in recent years under Carlos Tavares, and Chrysler probably would be a better match than Dodge. You can’t say Chrysler has enough models. Building them in the US or Canada would get around the US/EU tariffs. Don’t forget, PSA now owns Opel, so some Opels formerly rebadged as Buicks might become Dodges!

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I too had a Mighty Max for 14 years. I was interested in the Frontier but without a manual transmission as an option I would not touch any Nissan with with a Jatco automatic transmission and that is not just the CVTs. Nissan needs to drastically improve their quality or they will continue to lose sales. Nissan needs to be the one cutting products and should can the Infinity brand.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Nicely preserved example. If you really wanted one of these the price is not bad. I would pass.

  • avatar

    This article is incomplete compared to what Reuters said Nissan will announce officially on May 28. The original is worth reading.

    Nissan is not closing its UK plant which produces a quarter million Qashqai crossovers and new Jukes annually. They sell too well. They will likely stop selling the useless crap at the low end like Versas and substitute Renault crap instead. Against the new Fiesta and Focus, these old Nissan things cannot compete. But a Qashqai slaughters the Echosport trundler, even the updated Romanian-made ones.

    Infiniti left Europe three years ago. Stuff was too big and no diesels.

    Genesis left Europe four years ago, but is planning on having one big dealer per country with the new beached whale with ornate trinkets models. That’ll get the proles mobbing the showroom. Donckerwolke got out while the going was good.

    Honda already announced they’re leaving Europe, Their 200K per year UK plant was running 50 to 60% and mostly making Civic hatches and Type R for North America. The crap styling of Civic and CR-V (which we forgive here because there are so many) and the aspirational pricing for hard plastic interiors and wide body shut-lines spelled doom.

    Nissan is merely waking up to reality. (Toyota does OK in Europe and so do Hyundai/Kia barring Genesis) What’s left of the USA after the amateur handling of Covid-19 will get new USA-centric models if anyone has two cents left to rub together, and China will get China-centric models.

  • avatar

    Nissan is basically toast but I suspect the BOJ or the ECB will create eleventy billion out of thin air and give it to them. Because we simply enable failed companies to continue as zombie firms post 2008.

    That being said, Nissan needs to shrink its offerings unless they are all pulling their weight. I don’t know how they could fold the US Infiniti dealer network so one option is simply clone Nissans as Infinitis and vice versa. What the hell, sell the G37 or whatever its called now as Nissan Skyline *and* an Infiniti – makes a hell of a better top offering than what you did to Maxima. Take the QX60 or whatever it is and sell it as an upscale Nissan too. The Infiniti stuff I believe is dated so why not squeeze a few more years out of it and just fade it away, then stuff the Infiniti channel with Nissan or Mitsubishi garbage? Could it do any worse?

    Assuming the plandemic continues, and it probably will well into next year, all of these OEMs need to pull it together because it stands I suspect at least a handful will not make it out alive. Ask yourselves, who is *not* TBTF?

  • avatar

    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.

  • avatar

    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.

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