In a bid to gain a share of this extra volume, Nissan has joined the host of other manufacturers in turning the spotlight on LCVs this year. Renault took a 36% share in the Japanese maker in 1999 and already many cost-saving moves have been made. Last week Nissan announced the new Renault Trafic, due to be launched this summer as a joint venture in which it will also be called the Vauxhall Vivaro, will definitely be rebadged as a Nissan in the after rolling off a new production line in Spain.
This week, speaking at a van driving day at Ettington Park in Warwickshire, Nissan fleet sales director Kevin McNally did not rule out further joint ventures. He said: 'Renault provides us with new opportunities to increase our van sales and we are looking into various ways of doing this. At present, no firm decisions have been made, apart from the fact that new Trafic will be sold with a Nissan badge in 2002.'
The glaring hole in Nissan's present van line-up is in the 3.5-tonne panel van sector, so the obvious move would be to rebadge the Renault Master - which is already sold by Vauxhall as the Movano - as a Nissan too. However, McNally said: 'We are still in discussion with Renault about the Master. No decisions have been made yet.'