The Renault-Nissan Alliance has formed a light commercial vehicle business unit to expand sales in the growing segment worldwide.
“By unleashing the full potential of Renault’s van expertise and Nissan’s truck know-how in key markets, the Alliance intends to grow its light commercial vehicle sales worldwide. In the spirit of the Alliance, partners will leverage complementary markets and products while maintaining their own brand identity, sales and revenue,” the automakers said in a statement.
“The combination of Renault, Nissan and the early collaboration with Mitsubishi Motors in a single alliance LCV business unit will boost sales and deliver greater synergies,” said chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn. “With this move, we plan to expand our market leadership by accelerating our performance in current and new, high-growth markets, based on each company’s core products and market knowledge, and driven by customer needs.”
The new unit will be run by Ashwani Gupta as an alliance senior vice president. He will report to Ghosn.
The unit will continue to maximise cross-development and cross-manufacturing and is expected to deliver further cost savings and technology sharing. Renault and Nissan have established cross-production of vans and trucks over the last several years; for example, the Nissan NV300 van is built on the Renault Traffic platform; the Nissan NV400 van is built on the Renault Master platform; and the Renault Alaskan pickup is built on the Nissan Navara platform.
Though not mentioned in the statement, there is further cooperation by also sharing those platforms, and French and British factory production, with GM Europe which sells further variants under its Opel and Vauxhall brands.
The new alliance unit will also handle Nissan’s body-on-frame SUVs, including the primarily US-market Armada (a Titan truck spin-off) and global-sale Patrol.
A native of India, an engineer and a French business school graduate, Gupta has been vice president of Renault’s LCV division since 2014, running the operation worldwide. He joined Renault India in 2006 as general manager of purchasing in Mumbai. In 2008, he moved to the alliance purchasing organisation in Paris as global supplier account manager for braking systems. He joined Renault Nissan BV in 2009 as deputy general manager, global purchasing. In 2011, Gupta was appointed global programme director for Datsun at Nissan Motor in Japan where he headed development of products for in India, Russia, Indonesia and South Africa. He began his career in 1992 in engineering and purchasing in the private sector.
In 2016, the Renault group sold 443,931 LCVs worldwide including Avtovaz models in Russia. Top-selling models were Kangoo (118,200), Master (91,900 )units and Traffic (81,600).
Nissan Motor sold 815,490. Its top sellers were the NP300 Navara series (196,257), NAFTA market Frontier (102,497) and NV200 (54,118).
Now majority controlled affiliate Mitsubishi Motors sold 248,000 LCVs. The top-selling model in 2016 was the Triton/L200 pickup (125,000).