THIS partner-sharing thing is nothing new in the ute segment. Apart from the Ford/ Mazda and Gm/isuzu relationships, there are a few others going today.
Nissan seems to be attracting more than its share of attention with its current NP300 Navara platform. A Frenchflavoured version of the Nissan ute will arrive next year with the Renault Alaskan and that’s logical considering the Nissanrenault Alliance. What’s not so apparent is the Nissan-mercedes-benz partnership, with the German giant bringing its own version of the Navara ute to market in 2018. The Benz pick-up with have distinctive MB styling and will be offered with a choice of Benz and Renault powertrains.
Mitsubishi is sharing its Triton ute with Fiat, where it is sold in some markets (not Australia) as the Fiat Fullback with a Roman nose job. Adding a further twist to this story of inbreeding, last month, Nissan announced its plans to purchase a 34 per cent stake of Mitsubishi that would not only rescue the cash-strapped brand but see it embark on a raft of platform-sharing programs.
Could the Triton and Fullback also ride on the Navara chassis? And what of Hilux, Amarok and the Chinese utes? Does Toyota even care it’s still the market leader? All we know is that it will be fun times ahead in this booming class of LCVS.