The unnamed small car will be built by Nissan in Japan utilizing a Chrysler design and will be sold in North America, Europe and other markets in 2010. On the other side of the spectrum, Chrysler will build a full-size pick-up for Nissan that will share design cues with the rest of the Nissan line and be built at Chrysler's Saltillo Assembly Plant in Mexico. Sales of the pick-up will begin in North America in 2011.
The move is part of an effort by both automakers to utilize each other's global manufacturing facilities and finally gets Carlos Ghosn, Nissan's CEO, the American automaker partnership he's been looking for since last year.
We're hoping on a conference call with Nissan to see if either automaker releases more information, but in the meantime check Chrysler's press release after the jump.
UPDATE: No word on whether or not the new Nissan pick-up will use Chrysler's hybrid drivetrain. Nissan spokespeople are not calling this a partnership, rather an "OEM exchange" and nothing more.
UPDATE 2: The Nissan pick-up will be a full-size light truck.
UPDATE 3: The Chrysler small car will be on a Nissan-developed platform and will be covered in Chrysler-designed sheetmetal. The platform will not be based of the Versa. Nissan reps couldn't answer any questions about whether or not the small car will share any design cues from the Dodge Hornet concept.
UPDATE 4: We're going to hop onto the the Chrysler conference in a bit and will update this post with information as it happens. Check back in about 30 minutes for more.
UPDATE 5: Chrysler and Chery are still working together. Chery has Chrysler drivetrain people working with them now. Chery-developed B-segment model is still in the offing, but no idea when it could come to the U.S.
UPDATE 6: Chrysler's design team just wrapped up styling of the small car, so it's doubtful that it will share many cues with the Hornet concept. Too bad, since the Hornet was well received. LaSorda says, "it's a beautiful design."
Chrysler LLC and Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. issued the following press release on Monday:
AUBURN HILLS, Mich / TOKYO (April 14, 2008) – Chrysler LLC and Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., today announced two new agreements for the supply of products between both companies. In January, Nissan agreed to supply Chrysler with a new car based on the Nissan Versa sedan for limited distribution in South America on an Original Equipment Manufacture (OEM) basis in 2009.
This new OEM exchange benefits both companies through range extension and the utilization of global manufacturing capacity. Highlights of the new agreement:
Nissan will manufacture an all-new, fuel-efficient small car based on a unique Chrysler concept and design. This new segment entry for Chrysler will be sold in North America, Europe and other global markets in 2010, and manufactured at Nissan's Oppama Plant in Japan.
Chrysler will manufacture a full-size pickup for Nissan. Based on a Nissan unique design, this truck will be manufactured at Chrysler's Saltillo (Mexico) Assembly Plant. In order to accommodate this product, Chrysler will shift volume from Mexico to its U.S.-based assembly plants that produce pickup trucks. Sales of the pickup in North America will start in 2011.
This latest OEM supply agreement extends a long standing product exchange relationship between the two corporations, with Nissan affiliate JATCO already supplying Chrysler with transmissions since 2004.
"Forging the right tactical partnerships is critical to the long-term success of Chrysler," said Tom LaSorda, Chrysler LLC President and Vice Chairman. "It also builds on the Company's inherent strengths, including the ability to respond rapidly and creatively to emerging opportunities."
"In January, we said we would continue to look for additional OEM opportunities with Chrysler," said Carlos Tavares, Executive Vice President, Nissan Motor Company. "This latest agreement builds on Nissan's proven track record to deliver win-win product exchanges with multiple manufacturers around the world," continued Tavares.
Since the signing of the first OEM agreement in January, the two companies have also agreed to maintain an open dialogue to explore further product-sharing opportunities.