TOKYO — Mitsubishi engineers are taking the lead in developing a commonized body-on-frame truck platform to underpin midsize pickups and SUVs at Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi, outgoing Mitsubishi Motors Corp. COO Trevor Mann said in an interview last week.
That architecture will be used on replacements for the Mitsubishi Triton, Nissan Navara and Renault Alaskan pickups as well as the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport SUV, Mann said.
It also may be used, Mann added, for the U.S.-sold Nissan Frontier, a product that has grown long in the tooth since its last makeover. Although the global Navara platform was redesigned in 2014, and has since yielded versions for both Renault and Mercedes-Benz, Nissan's U.S. dealers never received a Frontier version of the update.
Mitsubishi was tapped to lead the pickup project after it joined the Renault-Nissan alliance in 2016. That was because Nissan deemed Mitsubishi to have the best pickup competence, as seen in the Triton, a workhorse of Southeast Asia.
"Shortly after the alliance, we did a detailed technical study between the two, and we found that Mitsubishi had many advantages over the Nissan platform," Mann said.
Among them: frame design, sourcing footprint and logistics costs — especially in Southeast Asia, where Mitsubishi and Nissan have sizable production and customer bases for their rival trucks.
Still unclear is what that means for the U.S. Mann said the new platform is years away.