Published on March 18th, 2017 | by James Ayre0
Renault-Nissan Alliance Creates New Light-Commercial Vehicle Unit
March 18th, 2017 by James Ayre
The Renault-Nissan Alliance has created a new light-commercial vehicle business unit, which will be the basis of the alliance’s further expansion into the segment (on the global level), according to a new press release from the alliance.
Does this means that the Nissan e-NV200 will finally make it to the US? Or perhaps rebranded versions of some of Renault’s attractive electric vans will? Or perhaps not, and the alliance’s eyes are actually on “emerging markets?”
The creation of a single cross-brand business unit will presumably lead to improved development and manufacturing synergies between Renault and Nissan, which the press release on the matter alludes to.
Alliance Chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn himself commented on the news: “The combination of Renault, Nissan and the early collaboration with Mitsubishi Motors in a single Alliance LCV Business Unit will boost sales and deliver greater synergies. With this move, we plan to expand our market leadership by accelerating our performance in current and new, high-growth markets, based on each company’s core products and market knowledge, and driven by customer needs.”
The press release provides more: “The Unit will continue to maximize cross-development and cross-manufacturing and is expected to deliver further synergies in costs and technology. Renault and Nissan have established cross-production of vans and trucks over the last several years; for example, the Nissan NV300 van is built on the Renault Trafic platform; the Nissan NV400 van is built on the Renault Master platform; and the Renault Alaskan pickup is built on the Nissan Navara platform. The new Renault-Nissan LCV Business Unit will also handle Nissan’s body-on-frame SUVs, including the Nissan Armada and Nissan Patrol.”
And some background on the head of the new unit, Ashwani Gupta: “Born in Dehradun, India, Ashwani Gupta graduated from Jawaharlal Nehru Engineering College, India, and obtained a diploma from INSEAD Business School in France. He has been vice president of Renault’s Light Commercial Vehicle Division since 2014, where he oversees the automaker’s worldwide LCV business. He joined Renault in 2006 as general manager of purchasing at Renault India in Mumbai. In 2008, he moved to the Renault Nissan Purchasing Organization in Paris as global supplier account manager for braking systems. He joined Renault Nissan B.V. in 2009 as deputy general manager, global purchasing. In 2011, Gupta was appointed global program director for Datsun programs at Nissan Motor Company, Ltd in Japan, where he led the product development to launch in India, Russia, Indonesia, and South Africa. He started his career in 1992 in engineering and purchasing in the private sector and later moved to management positions in the automotive industry.”
As it stands, the Alliance sells a fair number of light-commercial vehicles already — though, there is no doubt room for further improvement. During 2016, Renault sold 443,931 of the vehicles, Nissan sold 815,490, and Mitsubishi sold 248,000.
The top-selling models were the Nissan NP300 Navara (196,257 units); the Nissan Frontier (102,497); the Nissan NV200 (54,118); the Renault Kangoo (118,200); the Renault Master (91,900); the Renault Trafic (81,600); and the Mitsubishi Triton/L200 (125,000).
Only a very limited portion of the sales figures above were the electric versions of the models in question (the couple that have electric versions, that is). So, clearly, there is quite a lot of room for growth with regard to plug-in electric light-commercial vehicles.