A few weeks ago, it was reported that the Mitsubishi MPV-Crossover might be named the Expander. Back in December, we reported that a Nissan senior official revealed that it might be putting their badges on the said MPV-Crossover.
Given Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors chairman Carlos Ghosn's expansion plans in the ASEAN market, it is very likely that this might push through.
This was also made clearer with former Nissan Philippines and Nissan Indonesia top boss Antonio 'Toti' Zara appointed into a new Senior Vice President for 'Transformation Projects' position. Zara is expected to lead the transform the Expander into a yet unnamed Nissan MPV. His vast experience in sales, marketing, service, manufacturing and operations in the ASEAN region will be key to the product’s success.
In the same position move, Nissan also installed Mitsubishi Motors executive Eiichi Koito as president director of Pt. Nissan Motors Indonesia. Koito was a veteran of Mitsubishi Corp. prior to his move to Mitsubishi Motors in 2014, where he serves as General Manager for Global After Sales and Global After Sales Planning.
The upcoming Mitsubishi MPV is expected to be revealed at the 2017 Gaikindo Indonesia International Auto Show in August. It is not yet clear whether a Nissan version will make it in time as a production model, given the short amount of time since Nissan acquired Mitsubishi Motors.
Nissan currently offers the Livina in several versions since 2006 as its seven-seat MPV offering in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand as RHD models. LHD markets still carrying the Livina are Brazil, China and Taiwan. It was briefly available in the Philipine market as the Grand Livina.
Ghosn’s experience in synergies, expect both models to be built in the same line. He as present at the opening of Mitsubishi’s new $565 million facility has been identified as the production base for the upcoming MPV as well as the Pajero Sport and Colt L300 LCV for the Indonesian market with its 160,000 annual capacity.
Ghosn was quoted saying "we are proud to be creating jobs and investment in one of the region's largest and most important economies, which will be a strong manufacturing and export base for our expanding Alliance," at the opening of the plant.
Once released in the market, both Nissan and Mitsubishi models are set to compete in the B-Segment MPV class. Both will be seeing of the likes of the Suzuki Ertiga, Honda Mobilio and the Toyota Avanza. It is yet unclear if both versions will be offered in other markets or if certain countries will only get either the Nissan-badged model or the Mitsubishi-built variant.
Do expect the Nissan MPV-Crossover to come with its own exterior look. Given that Nissan is continuing to push for the V-Motion design language, it is possible that it will be applied for this particular model. As for engines, it is yet unknown if they will share powertrains from the current range of Nissan engines or if it will be a new one co-developed by the two automakers. Full details will be out by August with production beginning by October.