Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance develops new car platform for emerging markets

Peyman Kargar in Yokohama (c) Bertel Schmitt

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance is developing a new platform at its Chennai, India, engineering center, a Nissan senior executive disclosed today in Yokohama Japan. In presenting his mid-term plan for the region, Peyman Kargar, responsible for Nissan’s Africa Middle East and India region, said “what’s  under development now is a little higher than the current platform we are using for Redi Go and Kwid.” Kargar refused  to “disclose more at the moment,”  and Nissan spokespeople likewise maintained cover.

Renault’s very successful $4,000 Kwid, and its Datsun cousin Redi-Go, are built upon the Alliance’s CMF-A common modular family architecture. (See here for an article I wrote years ago about the platform.)

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In a search for untapped car markets, Nissan is back in Pakistan.

1976 Datsun 120y, for sale near Islamabad, $1,500 ask

Nissan is entering Pakistan’s car market – again.  The company assembled cars in the country until the middle of the past decade. Nissan withdrew when carmageddon sent Pakistan’s auto business into a tailspin. Now, Nissan is back.

Nissan reactivated its old Pakistan partner Ghandhara Nissan Ltd, and it will start assembling Datsun-branded cars within the 2019 fiscal, Nissan said today. [Continue Reading]

Suzuki’s Dalliance With Toyota, A Prelude For LTR


“If we don’t share, we won’t survive,” said Osamu Suzuki, chairman of Suzuki Motors, today. The auto industry’s grand seigneur gave a whole new meaning to “share society” at the Tokyo headquarters of Toyota, where Suzuki, flanked by a much younger Aiko Toyoda, announced what a reporter in the room characterized as an “engagement between Suzuki and Toyota.” Of course, that’s not the official line. Yet.

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Assured Mutual Disruption: The Battle Of Datsun And Renault’s $3,850 Cars

Cobee in Yokohama. Picture courtesy Forbes

“In India and Indonesia, we have the Datsun brand. It’s not really selling very strongly as of today,” Joji Tagawa, the always affable investor relations chief of Nissan Motor, said yesterday at the company’s HQ in Yokohama. “We have a joint plant with Renault in India, and last summer, the CMF-A platform-based Renault Kwid was introduced. It is selling really well.”

With that, the suitably diplomatic Tagawa rendered the haiku-version of a yet unreported twist in the relationship between Nissan and its French Alliance partner Renault SA, a story I now can tell in more epic breath.

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Toyota Has Big Plans For Small Cars

Toyoda-Mitsui - Bild Bertel Schmitt

A battle of opinions rages about the future of the auto business, and the sentiments couldn’t be more different.

Two days ago, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne said Chrysler would exit small cars to focus on Jeep SUVs, Ram pickups and an electric vehicle lineup. Yesterday, Ford Motor Co CEO Mark Fields said the company could possibly partner with other automakers on building small cars while cheap gasoline makes small cars a tough sell and drives demand for big-iron trucks and SUVs.

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1 second analysis: Who is most exposed to the Chinese contagion?


The Chinese new car market, good for rapid growth for nearly a decade, suddenly went negative. Early indicators show that the decline continues. Who will be most hit if/when the China market turns real sour? [Continue Reading]

Auto Industry 101.5: Takeover prices. (Prepare to be disappointed.)

Geely paid $1.5 billion for all of Volvo

Geely paid $1.5 billion for all of Volvo

In this 5th installment of Auto Industry 101, we talk about the price for your toils and troubles of starting a car company. This short course is written due to the recent interest in disrupting the auto industry. The course is kept extremely simple, Auto Industry for the Twitter Generation. Those in the industry will find nothing new. Those new to the industry hopefully will find a helpful primer.

Takeover fantasies usually help prop up a stock price, and with Tesla’s shares slowly trundling in the general direction of Mother Earth, there has been no shortage of takeover fantasies. Elon Musk himself brought up BMW last year, only for BMW to vehemently deny any possible alliances, or dalliances. I am frequently asked what Apple, or a global automaker would pay for Tesla. Here is my usual answer. [Continue Reading]

Auto Industry 101.3: The trouble with China

Chinese police drives trucks that officially shouldn't be in China

Chinese police drives trucks that officially shouldn’t be in China


China is one of the very few auto markets to show solid growth, with good prospects for decades. We learned this in yesterday’s installment of Auto Industry 101. Today, we look a little closer at China, as close as the big country allows in less than 1,000 words. This short course is written due to the recent interest in disrupting the auto industry. The course is bite-sized, and kept extremely simple, Auto Industry for the Twitter Generation. Those in the industry will find nothing new. Those new to the industry hopefully will find a helpful primer.

The Chinese auto market is a Tiger. It’s big, it’s fast, and it can eat you alive. Responsible for the huge market are Deng Xiaoping, and western investors. Deng invited western automakers to China. Volkswagen and American Motors followed his call. (If you are interested in the inside story of why and how VW came to China, let me know, and I may tell it. For AMC, ask Michael Dunne.) Then, VW and AMC languished in China for two decades. Nothing happened until western investors started pouring money into China at around the turn of the last century. Fueled by Dollars, Euros, and Yen, the Chinese car market exploded.

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