Nissan Motor and Mitsubishi Motors on Tuesday said they had signed an agreement under which Mitsubishi will supply Nissan with the next-generation eK Wagon mini-vehicle starting in the second half of fiscal year 2006.

The redesigned model will replace the current eK Wagon Mitsubishi already supplies Nissan under an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) agreement signed in 2005.

Nissan receives 36,000 units a year from the Japanese automaker and sells them under the Otti brand.

In addition to the eK Wagons, Mitsubishi also supplies Nissan with 20,000 Minicab light commercial vehicles a year, which Nissan sells under the Clipper name.

The ongoing OEM agreement will enhance Nissan's ability to offer a product lineup that meets customer needs, while at the same time enhancing Mitsubishi's productivity through an increase in volume efficiency, the two companies said.

Such 'OEM' deals are common in Japan, especially in the minivan and low-volume niche model sectors. Suzuki, in particular, is a key supplier of minivehicles to rival automakers and also sells versions of its small SUVs to Mazda.

After Isuzu ended its own car production in the 1990s, it was supplied for several years with sedan models made on an OEM basis by Honda.