The Nissan-Mitsubishi minicar joint venture back in 2011, brought about a company called NMKV Co, is up for a renewal. All three parties are gearing up to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) soon, with the sole objective of developing the next generation of the current minicar models.

Under the original JV, we’ve seen minicar models such as the Nissan Dayz and Mitsubishi eK Wagon. Later, there was the Nissan Dayz Roox and the Mitsubishi eK Space. Altogether, the venture has seen a total of 500,000 vehicles produced by the end of September 2015. The next project is said to be a mini EV, which is already in the planning and development stage.

The goal of the MoU is to bring about more competitive products by optimising resource allocation, roles and responsibilities. Nissan will be focusing more on development operations, including design development and testing.

NMKV Co will continue strengthening its product planning and project development roles, but at the same time, it will be focusing on its management capabilities with the establishment of a new department. The department will enhance the collaboration between its engineering and manufacturing functions.

Production of the minicars will continue at Mitsubishi’s Mizushima plant. “For Mitsubishi, minicars are a key segment that account for more than half of our total sales in Japan,” said Mitsubishi president and COO, Tetsuro Aikawa. He added that with the production of new models at the plant, improvement activities in the areas of costs, efficiency and quality can be accelerated, leading to more competitive products.

Hiroto Saikawa, Nissan CCO said that the focus will enable easier application of advanced safety and eco-friendly tech in larger vehicles. Meanwhile, NMKV president and CEO, Junichi Endo said that NMKV will take the lead, combining Mitsubishi’s knowledge of minicar development as well as manufacturing and Nissan’s technology.