Nissan has published a press release confirming it will build
Suzuki's pickup on the same line as the Nissan Frontier in Smyrna,
Nissan North America To Build Suzuki Pickup [Dec. 11,
Tenn. (December 11, 2007) – Nissan North America,
Inc. (NNA) announced that the midsize pickup truck it will produce
for Suzuki Motor Corp. will be based on the Frontier midsize
pickup and built at Nissan’s manufacturing facility in
Production of the pickup truck will begin in 2008. The vehicle
will be solely marketed by Suzuki in North America. Preparations
currently are under way to ready the Smyrna facility.
2006, Nissan and Suzuki Motor Corp. announced an agreement
to expand the scope of their business collaboration. The pickup
is part of that agreement, which also included the supply by
Nissan to Suzuki of the Serena minivan in Japan.
North America, NNA’s operations include automotive
styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales
and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. More information
on NNA and the complete line of Nissan and Infiniti vehicles
can be found online at www.nissannews.com.
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Dodge are set to take the North American International Auto Show with
new full size pickups, leaving the Chicago Auto Show to Suzuki to
debut its new 'Equator' midsize truck in February.
Suzuki Equator will be based on the Nissan Frontier and will be built
on the same line as the Frontier at Nissan's Smyrna assembly plant
search turned up the Equator moniker, registered to American Suzuki
Motor Corporation on November 5, 2007. Suzuki
is being coy about the name. PR staff won't confirm or deny if it's
correct. They are, however, clear that it won't be called the Koichi.
the Equator in North America, on an existing truck platform, reduces
Suzuki's design, development, and production costs and lets the Japanese
manufacturer avoid the so-called 'Chicken Tax' that slaps a 25% tariff
on pickups imported into the U.S. that are built overseas.
The OEM is
taking a big chance entering the U.S. small truck truck segment.
Sales of almost every make and model in this class are down for the
truck manufacturers who have entered the segment have found adoption
of their products extremely difficult - even when based on the trucks
of U.S. manufacturers. Isuzu's pickup, built off the Chevrolet Colorado
and GMC Canyon platform, has only sold 3,844 trucks year-to-date, and
Mitsubishi's Raider, based on the Dodge Dakota, has sold 7,957 units
Suzuki has long had its eye on the American truck market. The Grand
Vitara Pickup (at right) was a midsize concept
shown at the 2000 Tokyo Motor Show, based on the Grand Vitara SUV.
At a recent
event in California, Suzuki execs confirmed the Chicago introduction
and said they believe that buyers of Suzuki's motorcycles and ATVs
will be attracted to a Suzuki-badged pickup to haul their toys with.
the same message Suzuki broadcast seven years ago with the Grand Vitara
Pickup concept. Sitting in its bed, on the floor of the Tokyo Motor
Show, was a Suzuki ATV.
though, Suzuki didn't have any partners or factories in North America
to build the Grand Vitara Pickup at. Exporting a Japanese-built Grand
Vitara Pickup to the U.S. would have priced such a truck out of the
market because of the foreign-built import tax.
also shown that it's willing to get innovative with small trucks.
this year's 2007 Tokyo Motor Show, Suzuki unveiled its brilliant
X-Head concept. With looks like a baby Unimog and great styling,
if Suzuki doesn't find success with the Equator, it looks like it
has a good fallback plan.