Mercedes-Benz and Renault-Nissan To Cooperate on New Midsize Truck
Benz and Renault to Get Versions of Nissan NP300 Pickup
Daimler announced an expansion of its five-year cooperation with the Renault-Nissan Alliance, bringing a new midsize truck into the mix. Nissan and Daimler will jointly develop the pickup, which will share some architecture with the recently released Nissan NP300 global midsizer, but it will be designed and engineered by Daimler to ensure that it will fit in with the expectations of Mercedes-Benz’s customers.
According to Daimler, the truck will have a double-cab configuration, targeted at both lifestyle and commercial consumers. It will be targeted at customers in Europe, Australia, South Africa, and Latin America, but as was reported yesterday, Mercedes-Benz USA is considering the truck for the U.S. market.
Somewhat confusingly, Daimler’s press release announced the truck would be designated a 1-ton; however, many global markets call midsize pickups 1-tonners, a term which obviously wouldn’t apply to the United States. That said, the release also claims that Nissan is the world’s second-largest 1-ton pickup manufacturer, having sold more than 14 million trucks since 1933. Nissan introduced its latest global midsize truck offering, the NP300, in June 2014. There are rumors that this truck, also called Navara and Frontier in some markets, will be marketed in the U.S. as a replacement for our Frontier.
The NP300 will also donate some of its guts to an upcoming pickup for Nissan’s French ally, Renault. As with Mercedes-Benz, the Renault version will get unique styling and engineering to help it fall in line with the company’s other offerings.
All three trucks will be built in Cordoba, Argentina, for the Latin American Market, while a plant in Barcelona will manufacture them for other markets. The Cuernavaca, Mexico, plant that builds the NP300 will also build the Renault pickup, while a plant in Thailand will remain exclusive to the Nissan.
“Thanks to our cooperation with Daimler on this project, we will be able to share the cost of investment at the Cordoba plant, while at the same time open up new markets in the Latin American region for the Renault-Nissan Alliance,” said Carlos Ghosn, Renault-Nissan Chairman and CEO. “This project will also allow us to optimize production capacity at the Barcelona plant and enhance our competitiveness in an important segment.” Ghosn had previously (and slyly) claimed that the tie-up was merely a rumor and that nothing substantive had come of it.
While engine and other technical details have yet to be revealed, we expect a range of gasoline and diesel powertrains for the trucks. We also think the Mercedes-Benz pickup would make a fine addition to the company’s American offerings, especially if it comes with Benz’s excellent 2.1L or 3.0L turbodiesel engines. If that were the case, it’d be fair to expect a 7,000-pound–plus towing capacity from the pickup.