Chrysler and Nissan have decided to part ways, scrapping three joint-vehicle programs originally intended to fill yawning gaps in their respective line-ups.
“For the past several months, teams from both companies have been studying the viability of the projects in light of significant changes in business conditions since the projects were announced in January and April of 2008,” Chrysler said in a brief statement. “Today, it was decided it was in the best interests of both companies to end the projects,” it added.
With Nissan officials recently telling TheDetroitBureau.com they were still open to working with their Detroit counterpart, it appears that the announcement was heavily influenced by Chrysler’s new parent, the Italian automaker Fiat. It also appears Nissan is the loser in the latest developments.
Chrysler has already been selling a version of the Nissan Versa through some of its Latin American retail outlets. And it was originally expected to add another Nissan-based small car to its line-up, next year, in a bid to expand its global presence. Chrysler’s need for both small vehicles was eliminated by its merger with Fiat, which also sells a full-line of small cars around the world.
For the Japanese maker’s product portfolio, its erstwhile collaborator was expected to provide a rebadged and redesigned version of the Dodge Ram pickup truck as a replacement for the slow-selling, loss making Nissan Titan. The Chrysler-based pickup was to reach Nissan showrooms, in the U.S., by 2011. Now Nissan dealers won’t have a pickup truck to sell.
That particular joint venture appeared to run into snags, according to Nissan’s truck chief, Larry Dominique, about the time it became clear that Chrysler would fall under the control of Fiat, post-bankruptcy. Indeed, he suggested, during an interview with TheDetroitBureau.com, early this month, that Nissan couldn’t get any clear answer as to Chrysler’s plans – no surprise, suggested other sources, considering the turmoil at the troubled American automaker.
Actually it looks like the vehicle-sharing project was put on hold almost as soon as it started after Renault/Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn expressed reservations about the plan when Chrysler began to run into serious financial problems last fall. Chrysler’s financial difficulties wound up with the company filing for bankruptcy on April 30. After Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy in June, Fiat gained effective management control of the U.S. car maker and has been pressing ahead with a complete overhaul of its operations.