Andy Palmer, Nissan’s senior vice president with responsibility for Planning and Programme Management has told AutomotiveWorld.com that there is “no change in the situation regarding the OEM business between Nissan and Chrysler” despite the US firm filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
In response to questions over the future of a previously signed agreement for the supply of a small car, the Dodge Hornet, Palmer says the company has chosen to maintain a “wait and see” outlook. The plant previously named as part of this OEM deal, Oppama in Japan, builds the March (Micra), Cube, Tiida, Bluebird Sylphy and Note models. The same facility is scheduled to start manufacturing a production version of the Qazana small crossover later in 2009 as well as Nissan’s first electric vehicle (EV) from autumn 2010. Nissan confirmed on 12 May that initial capacity for these EVs will be 50,000upa, increasing as the start of EV mass-marketing commences in 2012. It also noted that it will ‘continuously seek overseas production opportunities for EVs’.
If the agreements between the firms unravel, Nissan would suddenly need to rethink its strategy for a full-sized pick-up in North America. Its existing model, the Titan, built at Nissan’s Canton plant in Mississippi, is scheduled to be phased out in 2011 and replaced by a restyled version of the next Dodge Ram. Nissan is currently seeking “more concrete information” from Chrysler with regard to the agreed vehicle alliance programmes, Palmer adds.
“At the moment we continue to monitor the situation daily and our communication channels with Chrysler remain open and good, “ he maintains.
As well as the two product-sharing projects for North America, Nissan has also been contracted to build a version of its Tiida/Versa small sedan at its Aguascalientes plant in Mexico for Dodge dealers in Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. This model, the Trazo C1.8, is scheduled to be launched in the first of these four markets as soon as next month.
The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Automotive World Ltd.