The Star recently printed a story about a man who bought a new Nissan NP200 bakkie from a Nissan dealer, and tried to return the vehicle for a refund because some of the parts in it had Dacia and Renault markings on them. He claimed “the vehicle was not a Nissan” and he was thus entitled to cancel his purchase agreement.
The story sparked a firestorm under the comments section of our sister website www.iol.co.za, and while most of the readers adding their two cents seem to understand that platform- and parts-sharing is a common practise in the motoring world, it appears that some members of the public haven’t quite grasped this concept.
First of all, the NP200 is in fact a Nissan. Well, at least in South Africa, where it’s built, it is. But until last year, this very vehicle was also built in Romania where it was known as a Dacia Pick Up. The two vehicles are identical except that one is badged as a Nissan and the other Dacia.
It’s common practise for motoring manufacturers to share parts across various brands in their stable, or sometimes simply re-badge their vehicles. In this case, Dacia belongs to the Renault-Nissan umbrella, as do Infiniti, Datsun, Lada and Samsung (yes, Samsung is a car brand in some markets). Pretty much every car brand you’ve ever heard of is teamed up with another somewhere along the line. It’s a very incestuous industry.
This kind of thing happens a lot. Sometimes, as in the Subaru BRZ and Toyota 86 which are basically the same car, it’s quite obvious. Other times, across international markets it’s not. In the US the Chevrolet Captiva is known as a Cadillac SRX.
The Renault Logan in SA is badged as a Dacia Logan in Eastern Europe. Chrysler’s 300C is a Lancia Thema in Italy.
Parts sharing is also common. Lamborghini, which is owned by Volkswagen, uses Audi bits and pieces in its cars – and vice-versa. You’ll also find plenty of Mercedes parts in the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Aston Martins used Fiesta keys when under Ford rule, and so on.
A Rolls Royce Ghost is based on a BMW 7 Series. BMW owns Mini, which uses Peugeot engines. Peugeot makes the 4008, which is also badged a Citroën Aircross, which also shares the Mitsubishi ASX platform. Mitsubishi’s Gallant is also known as a Dodge Colt. Dodge is aligned with Cummins for turbodiesel engines.
And Cummins has a deal with Chinese bakkie brand Foton. So, in a very roundabout way, Rolls Royce is related to Foton. Get the picture?
IT’S NOT FOUL PLAY
Nissan South Africa weren’t trying to pull the wool over their customer’s eyes with the NP200. By rebadging this product as a Nissan it’s simply repackaging it into a brand more familiar to our market.
The sharing of parts and platforms also allows these brands to bring products to you much cheaper. Rather than each brand in a company spending millions on researching and developing their own unique parts from scratch, parts-sharing leads to economies of scale that are ultimately friendlier to consumer pockets.
Dacia, as a brand, was once sold in SA but it’s long gone and would be too foreign and too costly to reintroduce now.
Why go to all the trouble of setting up specific Dacia dealerships, when it’s so much easier to just call the product a Nissan and sell it at Nissan dealers?
Which brand in the Renault-Nissan-Dacia umbrella the NP200 in question came from is irrelevant, as long as the product is built to Nissan quality standards. Nissan wouldn’t risk its hard-earned reputation by putting its badge on an inferior vehicle.
I wonder if the customer seeking a refund on his NP200 will be as disappointed to learn that Victoria isn’t actually a Beckham. She acquired the name as part of a legal and perfectly legitimate partnership. -Star Motoring
Follow Jesse Adams on twitter @PoorBoyLtd