Saturday, March 9, 2013
Nissan, M'bishi Motors Unveil Minivehicle's Design
TOKYO (Nikkei)--Nissan Motor Co. (7201) and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. (7211) on Friday revealed the names and exterior design of their jointly developed minivehicle slated to go on sale domestically in June.
Developed by their 50-50 joint venture, the tall wagon to be marketed as the Nissan Dayz and the Mitsubishi Motors eK Wagon will employ a new platform and engine. Although prices and specifications were not disclosed, the automakers said that the upscale minicar will have one of the best mileages in its class.
It is highly unusual for a new model's design to be shown before the vehicle itself is unveiled. Rival automaker Honda Motor Co. (7267) is releasing several new minivehicles in a bid to join the ranks of the two big players in this field, Suzuki Motor Corp. (7269) and Daihatsu Motor Co. (7262). Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors aim to keep consumers interested in their car by releasing information bit by bit.
The design, which bears hallmarks of both automakers, is the biggest selling point of the new model. Nissan was involved from the initial development phase. In the past, Nissan could not provide much input on the looks of minivehicles because it received them under OEM arrangements.
Competition to develop new models has been heating up in the minivehicle market, which now accounts for about 40% of all new automobiles sold in Japan.
The duo have agreed on their second model to be developed together. The ultratall wagon, which will have a roomier cabin than a tall wagon, is slated to debut in early 2014.
Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors held a combined 11.7% share of the Japanese minivehicle market in 2012. They aim to boost this figure to 20%, according to medium-term business plans.
(The Nikkei, March 9 morning edition)