TOKYO — The next-generation Mitsubishi Outlander crossover reportedly will use an engine from Nissan Motor Co., signaling deepening cooperation between the Japanese partners as their automotive alliance seeks new ways to increase product-development efficiencies and cut costs.
Outside of Japan-market minicars, the move would mark the first time a major Mitsubishi nameplate uses an engine developed by Nissan, Japan's Nikkei business daily reported. The redesigned Outlander, arriving as early as the second half of this year, is expected to share significant underpinnings with the next-generation Nissan Rogue set to debut this fall.
As part of the technology exchange, Mitsubishi will provide its plug-in hybrid system for a version of the Nissan Qashqai, according to the Nikkei. That would make the popular compact crossover, sold as the Rogue Sport in the U.S., Nissan's first plug-in hybrid vehicle.
Spokeswomen from Mitsubishi and Nissan declined to comment on future product plans but pointed to the companies' cooperation on minivehicles in Japan and joint badging of vehicles in other markets as examples of expanding ties. Nissan and Mitsubishi are racing to find ways to commonize and leverage product development amid plunging sales and profits. Both companies and French alliance partner Renault are working on new midterm business plans expected to be unveiled this month.
The plans are to outline steps to divide global markets and product development, with one partner taking the lead in areas where it excels. Mitsubishi has long been positioned as the alliance leader in plug-in hybrid technology based on the Outlander PHEV.