A product-development and production partnership between Chrysler LLC and Nissan Motor Co. also could reach into dealership franchise sharing, according to dealership group executives whose portfolios include brands of both auto makers.
The executives, who asked for anonymity in light of the exploratory talks on joint projects, say they have been consulted on how Nissan and Infiniti operations could be blended with Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep functions as part of future operations at the dealership level.
“Among the initiatives being considered are mutually operated pre-owned vehicle stores, shared parts and service departments and finance and insurance areas,” says a principal of one of the largest privately owned dealership groups.
“Chrysler is looking to Nissan-Renault for small-car sourcing, as with Renault's popular Logan compact car and a coming new Nissan subcompact car, while Nissan wants to acquire aid from Dodge in penetrating the fullsize truck and SUV market,” the dealer says.
The alliance envisions shared small-car and big-truck platforms, as well as franchises, with Logan's platform going global, Renault's brand returning to North America and the Dodge truck franchise being interlinked with the lower-selling Nissan Titan pickup and Armada SUV.
A spokesman for a publicly owned dealer collection says Cerberus Capital Management CEO Stephen Feinberg also sees growth potential in a merger of Chrysler Financial Services and GMAC. Cerberus owns 80.2% of Chrysler and 51% of GMAC and would like to use a partnership with Nissan-Renault as leverage for creating a larger financing operation serving a wider number of dealers, this spokesman said.
Key drivers of the deal between Chrysler and Nissan are Feinberg and Nissan-Renault chief Carlos Ghosn.