We just got off the phone with Frédérique Le Grèves, Nissan's VP of Corporate Communications, and had a chance to ask her some more questions about the Japanese automaker's recently announced partnership with Chrysler LLC. The partnership involves Chrysler building a full-size truck for Nissan at its Saltillo, Mexico plant and Nissan building a small car for Chrysler at its Oppama plant in Japan. While Le Grèves wasn't able to offer many specific details because the car won't arrive until 2010 and the truck a year later in 2011, she did shed some light on a few things.
For one, when asked about what engines the next-gen Titan (we're not sure if Nissan will rename the truck) would use, Le Grèves remarked that partnering with Chrysler would allow Nissan to offer more options to its customers. Thus, the Titan may be powered by not only the company's venerable VK56 V8, but also a selection of engines from Chrysler. She indicated that the partnership would at least give Nissan the opportunity to expand the features, options and configurations it currently offers in the Titan. We also asked how unique the next-gen Titan's design would be compared to the Ram, and were assured it would be 100% recognizable as a Nissan. Based on that, we're expecting more differentiation that we got with Volkswagen's version of Chrysler's minivans, the Routan.
As for the small car, since most of the decisions involving its development will be made by Chrysler, there wasn't too much news from Nissan on it. Since all official commentary on the small car has not specified whether it will be front-wheel-drive or not, we asked if there were at least the possibility that it could be rear-wheel-drive. Being that the Oppama plant currently builds a number of front-wheel-drive vehicles like the Cube, March, Tiida/Versa and Note, one would expect Chrysler's small car to fall in line and be front-wheel-drive as well, but no one's been able to confirm this small point yet.
It appears that we all have to wait for each automaker to get further along on their development of these vehicles before we get any more solid details than this.
Thanks to Mike Levine from Pickuptruck.com for setting up the interview!