Small cars from big brands

If you remember, it was a fuel economy issue that was declared as one of the triggers for Nissan acquiring a major stake in Mitsubishi Motors. The issue was because of a tiny kei car that Mitsubishi manufactured for Nissan that had supposedly ambitious fuel economy claims. Now Nissan and Mitsubishi are working on a new series of kei models, and they just kickstarted production.

The effort will see four new mini vehicles introduced in Japan as both companies continue to expand their collaboration. The production of the all-new Nissan Dayz, Nissan Dayz Highway Star, Mitsubishi eK Wagon, and Mitsubishi eK X Wagon began yesterday, March 14, in Mitsubishi’s Mizushima Plant. From the simple straightforward kei cars then, the new models will be the first to offer semi-autonomous driving technology, designed for single-lane use along highways.

NMKV News image

Aside from the self-driving tech and designs, the new models also promise markedly improved performance. This will be by way of upgraded platforms, engines, and the transmissions that they will be using. Despite the fact that Nissan and Mitsubishi’s mini vehicles share key components with each other, they will be retaining separate brand features of which, either manufacturer has yet to enumerate.

NMKV, a joint venture of the two companies, integrated Nissan's advanced technologies and Mitsubishi's extensive experience in mini-vehicle production into the light, tall wagon-type cars. The companies launched the first generation of the models in 2013 and have increased their collaboration since becoming Alliance partners in 2016. Last month, the all-new Nissan Livina, which shares a platform with the Mitsubishi Xpander, went on sale in Indonesia.

The models are set to go on sale in Japan later this month. Although they will not make their way to the Philippines, both Nissan’s and Mitsubishi’s push for electrification (and autonomy) may play a vital role in models we’ll see in the future.