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Nissan Chrysler Cycle Plan Conjecture

First Shoe to Drop – Titan Becomes a Dodge Ram Derivative
Nissan and Chrysler appear to be getting closer and closer to merging major parts of their product lineups. Earlier this year Nissan announced that the Nissan Titan full-size pickup presently produced on Nissan’s own platform at Nissan’s 300,000 unit capacity plant in Canton, Mississippi would become a reskinned Dodge Ram built at Saltillo, Mexico early in the next decade. In the meantime, Chrysler has idled Saltillo in the face of dwindling Ram sales and the introduction of the all new 2009 Ram pickup. This practically guarantees that Chrysler’s half ton truck platform will continue to get volume “efficiencies” from two plants.
In the first round of the relationship Chrysler also agreed to rebadge the Nissan Versa small car to provide a much needed entry below the Dodge Caliber/Jeep Patriot/Jeep Compass.
Conjecture for Nissan’s Canton, Mississippi Plant – Loses Titan/Quest/QX56 – Adds?
As Titan moves out of Canton so does the Quest minivan and the Infiniti QX56 luxury SUV. Nissan earlier announced the Quest production was moving to Japan and out of Canton and that QX56 becomes a derivative of the next generation Nissan Patrol made in Japan. That leaves Canton with a line of production for the Altima mid-size car and the Armada full-size SUV.

Nissan Altima 08 F34 VehicleVoice.jpg

Altima Provides Base for Next Chrysler Sebring and Dodge Avenger
Nissan and Chrysler are teaming up on mid-size cars with Chrysler to replace their Sebring and Avanger mid-size sedans with derivatives of the Altima. Altima is an outstanding product and the Sebring/Avenger have proven to be duds. This way Nissan can pump up sedan volume at Canton (they also make Altima at their huge Smyrna, Tennessee plant). And probably somewhere in the fine print Chrysler closes their Sterling Heights (Michigan) plant making Avenger/Sebring. If this happens Chrysler closes a UAW plant in the North moving production to a non-unionized plant in the South. There certainly will be screaming if this happens.
Chrysler Sebring SV VehicleVoice.jpg

Dodge Avenger 08 SV VehicleVoice.jpg

Nissan hasn’t said anything about Armada, but it could provide the basis for Chrysler’s next generation of Aspen/Durango bringing needed volume to Canton’s truck line and allowing Chrysler to close another assembly plant in Delaware. Alternatively, Nissan’s Pathfinder Mid-Size SUV assembled at Smyrna could provide the basis for the Next Durango and Aspen and might be better for the times. In this scenario Chrysler closes a second UAW plant in the North. More screaming.

LCV is Untapped Potential

Nissan is filling Canton body-on-frame truck capacity with their upcoming LCV – light commercial vehicle. The way we understand it is that the LCV program will lead with a van in several different configurations and then will add a pickup version in heavy duty form. So, the Nissan Titan based on the Dodge Ram provides the light duty pickup and the LCV derivative gives Nissan three-quarter and one tons. Not mentioned, but could be on the table would be Chrysler getting access to Nissan’s LCVs to eliminate the Dodge Sprinter that comes from Daimler.
What About the Minivan?
Nissan has previously said they would source the next Quest from Japan, but they have consistently lost the minivan battle trying to go it on their own (or at one time with Ford’s Mercury brand). It would not be unrealistic to think Nissan could strike a deal with Chrysler to get a version of Chrysler’s minivan much like Volkswagen has with their Routan.

So, in the final analysis, given our conjecture cycle plan the lineups for Chrysler and Nissan look like this…
Nissan Cars
Nissan Maxima (Smyrna)
Nissan Altima (Smyrna and Canton)
Nissan Sentra (Mexico)
Nissan Versa (Mexico)
Nissan 370Z (Japan)
Nissan GT-R (Japan)
Chrysler LLC Cars
Chrysler 300/Dodge Charger remain RWD muscular sedans
Chrysler Sebring/Dodge Avenger derived from Altima from Smyrna or Canton
Dodge Caliber/Jeep Patriot/Jeep Compass (we’d drop the Compass and keep Patriot)
Dodge Small Car badge engineered from Nissan Versa
Chrysler PT Cruiser dropped
Nissan Trucks
Nissan Titan derived from Dodge Ram in Saltillo, Mexico
Nissan Armada may provide basis for Chrysler Aspen/Dodge Durango (pure conjecture)
Nissan Quest sourced from Japan or alternatively becomes a Chrysler minivan derivative (pure conjecture)
Nissan Frontier could provide basis for Next Dodge Dakota (pure conjecture)
Nissan Xterra remains solely for Nissan
Chrysler LLC Trucks
Dodge Ram reduces capacity by giving Saltillo to Nissan for Next Titan based on Ram
Dodge Dakota becomes a derivative of Nissan Frontier (pure conjecture)
Chrysler Aspen/Dodge Durango derived from Nissan Armada (pure conjecture)
Chrysler Town & Country/Dodge Caravan provide Next Quest (pure conjecture)
Dodge Sprinter replaced by derivative of Nissan LCV from Canton

1 Comment

  • John Youngblood| September 28, 2008 at 3:32 am

    Screaming from the UAW. Hmm, I wonder why. Maybe it’s because Chrysler is whacking UAW membership left and right, and won’t stop until they’ve gotten rid of all of us. Then they can hire a whole new crew and pay them $14 an hour with even crappier benefits than we get now. It’s not the union auto-worker that put the Big 3 in a bind. It’s allowing Asian automakers to set up shop in America in right-to-work states that lowers the pay scale for every other autoworker. It’s lack of vision at the Big 3 that didn’t prepare for the downturn in business or the skyrocketing cost of gas.
    I am so damned tired of these slams on the UAW; according to everybody who’s NOT a UAW member, we’re just a bunch of lazy, overpaid leeches who brought the Big 3 down. Work side-by-side with ME a single shift, and see then if you think we’re overpaid.

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