PARIS — Renault will build a Mitsubishi-branded version of the Renault Trafic van at its factory in Sandouville, France, where it also makes versions for Nissan and Fiat.
The Mitsubishi van will be exported to southeast Asia, the Renault-Nissan alliance said in a news release announcing a regional restructuring.
Adding the Mitsubishi van will increase synergies at minimal cost to alliance because the factory already builds the Nissan NV300 and Fiat Talento alongside the Trafic.
An Opel version, the Vivaro, was discontinued in 2018 after PSA Group bought the German brand and brought Vivaro production in house.
According to Paris-Normandie, a regional newspaper, production of Mitsubishi vans will start this year at the Sandouville plant, with an initial volume of 4,000 annually. Renault officials did not confirm the figure.
The report also said that Talento production would continue at the factory even though Fiat-Chrysler and PSA are planning a merger.
The Sandouville plant employs around 2,000 production workers. In 2018 it produced 135,000 vans, of which about 94,000 were branded as Renaults, 6,000 as Nissans and the remainder as Fiats or Opels.
The project to develop the Mitsubishi van was launched about two years ago under Ashwani Gupta, the alliance’s first head of its light commercial vehicles business unit. Gupta was later named COO of Mitsubishi Motors, and he is now Nissan's chief operating officer.
The Mitsubishi van will appear in Mitsubishi showrooms in southeast Asia and Australia in the middle of 2020, media reports said.
Last year, Renault sold 103,204 Trafics worldwide, an increase of 6 percent compared with 2018, with 88,189 in Europe. About 85 percent of the overall total were commercial versions, with the remainder sold as passenger vehicles.