Nissan and Mitsubishi could team up for the next-generation of large SUVs.
Nissan is looking to take advantage of its recent acquisition of Mitsubishi by co-developing large SUVs with its new strategic partner. Nissan purchased a controlling stake in Mitsubishi in late 2016.
Product development is a huge expenditure for automakers, so it makes sense that Nissan is already exploring ways to save money through its new partnership. The most obvious area of overlap between the two companies is large SUVs — Nissan has the Patrol (sold here as the Armada) while Mitsubishi currently sells the full-size Pajero in other global markets. Moreover, both models are advancing in age and will soon need a total overhaul.
According to Trevor Mann, chief operating officer for Mitsubishi, Nissan and Mitsubishi are currently discussing the development of the next Patrol and Pajero as a joint project. Nissan would likely handle most of the platform development while Mitsubishi would offer its expertise in plug-in hybrid drivetrains.
"How to make this work is something that we are working on because that segment is coming under increasing pressure in terms of CO2 compliance," Mann told Motoring on the sidelines of the recent Geneva Motor Show. "It is a big, heavy vehicle. One of the things that we need to look at is what are the benefits that we could have in terms of sustaining that product if we were to work with Nissan. That is something we will be exploring."
He continued: "One of the things you need with a vehicle like that is high torque and one of the things you get with an electric motor is high torque. The solution has to be technically along that direction."
A timeline for the new SUV twins hasn't been nailed down yet, but it'll likely be a few years before we see either. The Nissan Patrol was last redesigned in 2010 while the Mitsubishi Pajero hasn't seen a ground-up redesign since 2000.