Nissan 400Z teased as Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance unveils revival plan
The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance has been a troubled marriage, fighting through adversities including reduced market share, stronger competition and internal issues that came to a head with the spectacular rise and fall of former CEO Carlos Ghosn. With the Covid-19 pandemic hammering down on the industry, their struggle has only gotten worse. To counter this slump in business, the alliance has organised a contingency plan. Nissan has announced a 4-year plan which includes drastic decisions like shutting down plants and significantly trimming their lineup.
The troubled Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance has decided that one company will produce a “mother” model for every segment and the other two companies will follow suit with “sister” vehicles, helping them share basic design, engineering and production lines. This can help them share costs and improve their profits. And the global lineup of the alliance will also be trimmed to get rid of non-profitable vehicles. Nissan specifically, will bring its global lineup of 69 vehicles down to 55, even while adding 12 models into its lineup.
We speculate this also means that cars like the next-generation Mitsubishi Pajero will be a rebodied version of the upcoming next-gen Nissan Pathfinder, the latter already having an Infiniti sister model.
Comments by officials seem to indicate that Infiniti will be dumbed down to just rebodied Nissan models mostly based on the Altima/Maxima platform possibly with all-wheel-drive tacked on (like Audi gets away with), although we’re hoping that isn’t the case. It sounds odd because the Infiniti Q50 is a variant of the 370Z’s platform, and Nissan has already teased a rear-wheel-drive 400Z sports car (yes, it’s real and we already got a preview of it last year on our trip to Nissan’s design centre in Japan).
We can at least confirm that Nissan’s next-generation of SUVs (which we also got a preview of) will be much more interesting vehicles design-wise than what’s on offer now.
Along with the portfolio reduction, Nissan is also looking at slashing global production by 20% to approximately 5.4 million vehicles a year. This can lead to some production lines being disabled or some factories shutting down, as is the case of its Barcelona plant. Nissan’s plant in Indonesia is also looking at the same fate, as the manufacturer is planning to concentrate production for the ASEAN region in Thailand.
The plan also includes adding more focus to some markets while they pull out of some others. The alliance has re-attributed the responsibility of markets to the three main brands in the team according to their popularity in the region and core competencies. Based on this plan, Nissan will be the reference for China, North America and Japan, while Renault will focus on Europe, Russia, South America and North Africa. Mitsubishi gets to lead the ASEAN and Oceania regions. Nissan will be leaving South Korea while its budget brand Datsun will be pulled out of Russia, but continue in markets such as India, contrary to previous rumours.
The responsibilities are also rearranged according to the vehicle segments as well. The compact SUV segment will be revived under Nissan’s leadership post-2025 while the sub-compact SUV segment will be led by Renault. That does not seem like a huge difference, considering the Renault Koleos is already based on the Nissan X-Trail, although the next-gen Kicks might end up being some sort of Renault underneath.
The alliance hopes to bounce back strong and “achieve sustainable growth, financial stability and profitability” by the time the fiscal year 2023 comes to a close.