Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Nissan, Chrysler agree to share products Companies downplay talk of alliance, but analysts say it's possible


Chrysler LLC and Nissan Motor Co. announced a blockbuster partnership Monday to assemble cars and pickups for each other in a deal that draws on each automaker's expertise and perhaps sets up the companies for a much deeper relationship down the road.

Nissan will build small cars for Chrysler to sell and Chrysler will make pickups for Nissan under a deal announced by both companies late Monday afternoon.

Analysts saw the moves as a potential big step toward adding Chrysler to the Renault-Nissan alliance, but the companies downplayed that scenario. Carlos Ghosn, the chief executive of both Renault and Nissan, has long said he wants a North American partner.

Two years ago, he came up short in a bid to merge with General Motors Corp.

"This is definitely deepening the relationship considerably, which I think is good for both parties," said Erich Merkle, director of forecasting for Grand Rapids-based consulting firm IRN Inc. "Chrysler needs a small car. In terms of the time and resources it would take to develop a legitimate small car offering, Chrysler doesn't have it." more

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