Years before Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) joined the Nissan-Renault alliance, the automaker has already had a partnership with Nissan. In fact, they were even building cars together.
On June 1, 2011, the two companies established a 50/50 joint venture called NMKV to produce mini vehicles, popularly known as Kei-cars, for the Japanese market. And this 2021, they are celebrating the 10th anniversary of that partnership.
The collaboration between Nissan and Mitsubishi proved to be a success. According to the automakers, a cumulative total of 1.52 million units have been produced as of May 2021. You may think the numbers are low for 10 years of production. But remember, Kei-cars are sold exclusively in Japan.
Today, NMKV produces four different Kei-cars sold under Nissan and Mitsubishi. Nissan offers the Roox and Dayz, while Mitsubishi sells the eK space and eK X space. Nearly all models have won prestigious awards as well. The latest Roox, eK space, and eK X space were awarded "K Car of the Year" at the 2020-2021 Car of the Year Japan awards.
Soon, Nissan and Mitsubishi will be building electric Kei-cars as part of their joint venture. Mitsubishi's Mizushima Plant has already invested around JPY 8 billion to fast-track the production of EV Kei-cars. Meanwhile, NMKV will continue to strengthen the domestic competitiveness of Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors by planning new and attractive products and through project management.
“NMKV is combining the best of Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors to create appealing vehicles for Japan's national car, the minivehicle. Going forward, the three companies will continue to strengthen the source of their strength, Japanese manufacturing capabilities, and cross-company and cross-functional collaboration to promote even better vehicle manufacturing through the teamwork of the Alliance,” said NMKV president Junichi Endo.
Considering how strong the partnership is, we doubt NMKV will be going anywhere. We're still hoping Nissan and Mitsubishi won't make the next batch of Kei-cars Japan exclusive. Because let's be honest, Kei-cars would make sense in Metro Manila.