Nissan and Daimler to develop midsize bakkie

off-my-wheelsBrian Joss –

The Renault-Nissan Alliance and Daimler AG will expand their five-year strategic cooperation into the pickup truck segment to develop a 1-ton bakkie for Mercedes-Benz. The Mercedes-Benz pick-up will share some of the architecture with the all-new Nissan NP300 but it will be engineered and designed by Daimler to meet the specific needs of its customers. The vehicle will have all of Mercedes-Benz’s distinctive characteristics and features.

The pick-up will feature a double cab and will be targeted both at personal-use and commercial customers. The primary target markets for the truck are Europe, Australia, South Africa and Latin America.

The one-ton bakkie from Daimler Nissan. Picture: QuickPic
The one-ton bakkie from Daimler Nissan. Picture: QuickPic

“Mercedes-Benz is the fastest growing premium brand in the world,” said Dr Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the board of management of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz cars. “Entering the rapidly growing segment of midsize pick-ups is an important step in continuing our global growth path. Thanks to our well-established partnership with the Renault-Nissan Alliance, we are able to drastically reduce the time and cost to enter this key segment.”

Nissan is the world’s second-biggest 1-ton pick-up truck maker and has been building and selling 1-tonner bakkies for more than 80 years. Since 1933, more than 14 million Nissan 1-ton pickup trucks have been used to transport people and cargo, sometimes in the toughest circumstances. The NP300, sold under the name NP300 Navara and NP300 Frontier (depending on the market), was launched in June 2014 and is currently produced in Thailand and Mexico.

Nissan and Renault are already developing a 1-ton pick-up truck for Renault which will also share some common architecture with the Nissan NP300. The truck, which will have a distinctive Renault design, is Renault’s first 1-ton pick-up truck as well. Production of Renault’s 1-ton truck will begin in 2016 at Nissan’s plant in Cuernavaca, Mexico. The 1-ton pick-up will mark Renault’s second entry into this segment after the launch of a half-ton pick-up later this year.

The Mercedes-Benz 1-ton pick-up truck will be built by Nissan in the Renault plant in Cordoba, Argentina, along with the Nissan NP300 and the Renault 1-ton truck, for Latin America. The three trucks will also be built in the Nissan plant in Barcelona, Spain, for other markets, excluding North America. Production of the trucks at the two plants will start by the end of the decade.

The Barcelona plant will produce about 120 000 vehicles annually for the three partners, while the Cordoba plant will produce nearly 70 000 vehicles a year. A high parts localisation rate is expected to expand the supply bases in Spain and Argentina significantly.

The joint pick-up project is the latest milestone in the strategic partnership between Daimler and the Renault-Nissan Alliance, which celebrates its 5th anniversary this month. The strategic cooperation among the three companies began on April 10, 2010.

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