Three Versions of Spanish-Built Nissan Pickup Planned for Daimler

Latin American demand will be supplied for Daimler from the Renault Nissan Alliance plant in Cordoba, Argentina, where $600 million is being invested in retooling and modernization.

Jorge Palacios, Correspondent

April 9, 2015

2 Min Read
Nissan NP300 Navara captured during media drive in Chiang Mai Thailand
Nissan NP300 Navara captured during media drive in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

MADRID – Last year, the second assembly line at Nissan’s plant in Barcelona began preparing for production of the successor of the Navara pickup (sold as the Frontier in North America), built at the facility since 2007.

The initial volume target was set at 60,000 units annually, with launch now eyed for the fourth quarter. But that figure could as much as double by 2017 or 2018, thanks to the deal to supply a version of the pickup to Daimler’s Mercedes unit.

Three different versions of the 1-ton pickup will be built for each of the brands, with output targeted at 120,000 units annually by 2018.

The supply deal is an expansion of a collaboration agreement between the Renault-Nissan Alliance and the German automaker that now includes more than 13 projects.

The Daimler variant of the 1-ton pickup will be marketed in Europe, South Africa, Latin America and Australia, but not in North America, where Nissan prefers not to face competition in the pickup sector from the German luxury brand.

However, Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Steve Cannon isn’t ruling out offering the truck in the North American market after 2018-2019, which he says is the earliest possible date for such an introduction.

“So we have enough time to look at the market and decide,” Cannon told Reuters at the New York Auto Show last week.

The Renault-Nissan Alliance is developing a common 1-ton pickup to be assembled in the Nissan plant in Cuernavaca, Mexico, and this will be the model to be marketed by the Japanese brand in North America.

Latin American demand will be supplied for Daimler from the Renault-Nissan Alliance plant in Cordoba, Argentina, where $600 million is being invested in retooling and modernization. About 70,000 units of the new pickup will be assembled in Cordoba annually.

The current Navara and its Pathfinder SUV derivative will cease production in late summer in Barcelona. In 2014, the Spanish plant assembled a total 141,000 vehicles on its No.1 line, with the No.2 line down for retooling for the new pickup.

Five different models will be produced at the plant, including the Navara, Pathfinder, Pulsar, NV200 van and electric e-NV200.

Not counting the Daimler work, yearly production of the Barcelona plant could be in the 190,000- to 200,000-unit range by the end of the decade, about 80% of the plant’s 225,000- to 250,000-unit maximum capacity on three shifts.

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