TOKYO -- Nissan Motor Co. and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. said on Thursday they had reached an agreement under which Mitsubishi would supply 20,000 commercial minivehicles a year to Nissan.
The deal marks Nissan's second entry into the minivehicle market after its successful launch last April of the "Moco", built by top minivehicle maker Suzuki Motor Corp., also on an OEM (original equipment manufacturing) basis.
The latest arrangement would enable Nissan to expand its product line-up without extra spending, while boosting manufacturing efficiency at Mitsubishi Motors, the two auto makers said.
"Entering the commercial minivehicle market was a natural next step for us after our successful trial with the Moco," said Yukio Kitahora, Nissan's senior vice president in charge of sales.
Mitsubishi Motors, Japan's fifth-largest automaker, will build its "Minicab" trucks and vans under the Nissan nameplate starting around October.
Minivehicles, which have maximum engine displacement of 660cc and receive preferential tax treatment, make up about a third of the overall vehicle market, but have been losing out in recent years to the popular subcompact segment.