Chrysler Will Make Full Size Light Duty Truck for Nissan
By: Mike Levine Posted: 04-14-08 14:10 PT
© 2007

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Update #5: 04-16-08 12:50 PT

Nissan VP of communications, Frederique Le Greves, has provided a few more bits of news to about Nissan's next generation light duty pickup.

No decisions have been made yet about changing the truck's name. Internally it is being referred to as the, "next-generation Titan," says Ms. Le Greves.

Nissan is still planning to build the Armada full size SUV after 2011 at its Canton, MS plant, where it's built alongside the Nissan Titan today.

"The next generation Armada is not coming before a few years. But Armada production will continue in Canton alongside the [future] light commercial vehicles," says Ms. Le Greves.

Ms. Le Greves notes Titan production will end at Canton in December 2010 and will start at Chrysler's plant in Saltillo, Mexico in January 2011.

It's Nissan's intent to offer multiple engine choices in the new truck. Some motors may be sourced from Chrysler and shared with the Dodge Ram.

"The fact that we are partnering with Chrysler on Titan will help us to offer a bigger range of engine choices to our customers, but we have not decided yet which engines we will take from Chrysler," says Ms. Le Greves.

Nissan only offers a 5.6-Liter V8 engine in the Titan today.

Nissan would also like access to Chrysler's new two mode hybrid powertrain that will be available in the Dodge Ram starting in 2010.

"We hope that we can look at that (as part of Chrysler's engine offerings), says Ms. Le Greves.

The two-mode hybrid system was developed through a four-way partnership among BMW, Chrysler, Daimler, and General Motors. It will also be available in GM's full size pickups starting in the fourth quarter of 2008.

[For additional information about the Chrysler-Nissan tie-up, check out Autoblog and Jalopnik.]

Update #4: 04-15-08 05:07 PT

Mississippi's Star Clarion Ledger offers further insight into what Nissan is thinking about its new manufacturing partnership with Chrysler.

Dominique Thomann, Nissan North America senior vice president for administration and finance, says although it's likely the half-ton will be based on a Dodge frame, Nissan will design the pickup. Some styling, performance and other key Titan elements will be retained, though Mr. Thomann said he didn't know if the name would be kept.

Update #3: 04-14-08 17:19 PT

No word from either Chrysler or Nissan whether the new Nissan truck will share the same coil-spring rear suspension that will debut in the 2009 Dodge Ram 1500.

Update #2: 04-14-08 15:45 PT

Chrysler LLC President Tom LaSorda says powertrain options for the new truck will be discussed at a later date. Nissan will take the lead on an announcement at that time.

Update #1: 04-14-08 15:03 PT

A Nissan conference call has just concluded. Nissan execs say the new truck will be a replacement for the current Titan half-ton pickup.

Just in that Chrysler will build a full size light duty truck for Nissan by 2011. The pickup will have a "unique Nissan design". Word of such an alliance first came to light in December 2007.

The joint press release says the new truck will be built in Mexico at Chrysler's Saltillo plant, where Dodge currently builds its three-quarter and one-ton pickups and commercial chassis cabs.

Chrysler will move some portion of its HD Ram production to its St Louis and Warren, Michigan truck assembly plants to make way for the new Nissan pickup.

Saltillo's current product mix is:
Dodge Ram 2500/3500 Quad Cab and Regular Cab, Dodge Ram Mega Cab, Dodge Ram 3500 Chassis Cab, DX Chassis Cab (Mexico Market), Dodge Ram 2500/3500 Box-off, Dodge Ram 4500/5500 Chassis Cab, Sterling Bullet Class 4/5 Chassis Cab (for Sterling Truck, a subsidiary of Freightliner).

St. Louis North's current product mix is:
Dodge Ram Standard and Quad Cab Pickup (Models 1500, 2500 Light and Heavy Duty).

Warren, Michigan's current product mix is:
Dodge Ram 1500 Standard Cab and Quad Cab SLT/Laramie/Laramie Sport and Dodge Dakota Standard, Club and Quad Cab pickups, Mitsubishi Raider Standard, Club and Quad Cab pickups.

Last week Nissan announced it would start producing three new commercial vehicles for the US market. To do this, Nissan said it would cut production of the Nissan Quest minivan and Infiniti QX56 full size SUV at its Canton, Mississippi plant, where the current Nissan Titan is built.

By the end of 2008, the Nissan Titan will be the oldest full size truck in the segment, with all other models having undergone major revisions or received all new designs. A new Titan was expected for the 2010 model year.

It's ironic how this new deal leverages production economies of scale, similar to Nissan's agreement with Suzuki to produce the upcoming Equator midsize pickup.

Press Release Below:

AUBURN HILLS, Mich / TOKYO (April 14, 2008) – Chrysler LLC and Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., today announced two new agreements for the supply of products between both companies. In January, Nissan agreed to supply Chrysler with a new car based on the Nissan Versa sedan for limited distribution in South America on an Original Equipment Manufacture (OEM) basis in 2009.

This new OEM exchange benefits both companies through range extension and the utilization of global manufacturing capacity. Highlights of the new agreement:

Nissan will manufacture an all-new, fuel-efficient small car based on a unique Chrysler concept and design. This new segment entry for Chrysler will be sold in North America, Europe and other global markets in 2010, and manufactured at Nissan’s Oppama Plant in Japan.

Chrysler will manufacture a full-size pickup for Nissan. Based on a Nissan unique design, this truck will be manufactured at Chrysler’s Saltillo (Mexico) Assembly Plant. In order to accommodate this product, Chrysler will shift volume from Mexico to its U.S.-based assembly plants that produce pickup trucks. Sales of the pickup in North America will start in 2011.

This latest OEM supply agreement extends a long standing product exchange relationship between the two corporations, with Nissan affiliate JATCO already supplying Chrysler with transmissions since 2004. 

“Forging the right tactical partnerships is critical to the long-term success of Chrysler,” said Tom LaSorda, Chrysler LLC President and Vice Chairman. “It also builds on the Company’s inherent strengths, including the ability to respond rapidly and creatively to emerging opportunities.”

“In January, we said we would continue to look for additional OEM opportunities with Chrysler,” said Carlos Tavares, Executive Vice President, Nissan Motor Company. “This latest agreement builds on Nissan’s proven track record to deliver win-win product exchanges with multiple manufacturers around the world,” continued Tavares.
Since the signing of the first OEM agreement in January, the two companies have also agreed to maintain an open dialogue to explore further product-sharing opportunities.

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