Nissan Motor and Mitsubishi Motors have agreed to expand their current scope of cooperation towards new projects that will further strengthen mutual competitiveness, especially in the Japanese mini car and global commercial vehicle businesses, the two automakers said in a statement.

The pair currently have several OEM agreements for vehicles in the Japanese market, including for mini cars and commercial vehicles. In addition to expanding the scope of the current OEM partnership, the two companies agreed to study new opportunities. The new cooperation agreement will complement any agreements the two parties have already established with other partners.

Under the expanded OEM deal, Nissan will provide a light van/wagon to Mitsubishi for the Japanese domestic market and Mitsubishi will provide Nissan an SUV for the Middle East.

Discussions are ongoing for Nissan to provide Mitsubishi Motors with upper-end segment models for the Japanese domestic market.

Regarding new opportunities, two projects are currently under study: the manufacture of the current generation of Nissan Navara pickup truck at Mitsubishi Motors' plant in Thailand. Longer-term, the two companies are evaluating manufacturing and engineering collaboration of a new generation one-tonne pickup truck.

A 50:50 joint venture for product planning and engineering of mini cars for the Japanese domestic market is also being eyed.

Nissan president and CEO Carlos Ghosn said: “This agreement is important for Nissan as it supports our expansion in emerging markets, meets immediate capacity needs overseas, and enables us to grow our mini car business in Japan. Our relationship with Mitsubishi demonstrates the ability of the Renault-Nissan Alliance - with its network of global partnerships - to constantly evolve and create new win-win relationships with other companies in function of specific needs and shared objectives”.

Mitsubishi Motors President Osamu Masuko said “Amid the drastically changing economic and market environments, Mitsubishi Motors is in partnership with PSA Peugeot Citroën in the areas of SUVs and EVs, and is always searching for other optimal solutions suited for each area of our business. This agreement to expand our business cooperation with Nissan is founded on our good business relationship since 2003, through several OEM agreements of mini cars and commercial vehicles. I believe that the expansion of our OEM agreement will complement each others' regional characteristics and product lineup, and the one-ton pickup and mini car projects will be the best solution to strengthen each others' competitiveness”.

“The alliance of the two automakers seems to be a good one as we can expect more cooperation in electric vehicles going forward,” Takeshi Miyao, an analyst at consulting company Carnorama in Tokyo, told Bloomberg News.

Nissan currently produces the Lancer Cargo commercial vehicle for Mitsubishi, which in turn builds the Minicab, Town Box, eKWagon and Pajero Mini models for the larger carmaker, the news agency said.