Two Japanese 4WD manufacturers might be a bit harder to discern from each other in the future, as the recently joined companies will be sharing their platforms, development and technologies across a variety of models.

When Mitsubishi was caught fudging fuel economy figures in Japan recently, they were taken to the proverbial cleaners. With no money and little development, the Nissan-Renault Alliance swooped in, buying up a big share of Mitsubishi.

Now the two are bed fellows, they make up the 3rd largest overall automotive group behind Volkswagen and Toyota.

In an effort to reduce the cost of developing a new model, Nissan and Mitsubishi will go down the well-trodden path of platform and development sharing both the Navara/Triton, and the Patrol/Pajero. This will reduce the costs involved with bringing out a new model for both Mitsubishi and Nissan, and will also give them the potential of both companies building better vehicles overall.

This means the upcoming Mitsubishi Triton will likely land on the platform of the Nissan Navara. Whether it uses the same coil sprung suspension in the rear will remain to be seen, as well as whether the Navara and Triton will share engines or not. Nissan has a new, Renault-sourced 2.3 litre, twin-turbo diesel engine, but Mitsubishi has only recently released a fairly frugal and flexible 2.4-litre diesel with ‘Mivec’ valve timing.

The Nissan Y62 Patrol is a big, burly 4X4 with good on-road dynamics, but is seriously hurt by it's lack of a diesel engine.

The Nissan Y62 Patrol is a big, burly 4X4 with good on-road dynamics, but is seriously hurt by it’s lack of a diesel engine.

On top of that, the next iteration of the Mitsubishi Pajero, which hasn’t really been directly replaced yet, will likely share a lot of components with an upcoming Nissan Patrol. Now that the new Y62 Patrol is independently-sprung and could really use a diesel engine option, this does make a lot of sense.

Along with the fact that these models will be more similar, another big element will be how these manufacturers will differentiate their models. The Pajero has always been an innovative dark-horse with technology like all-round independent suspension and Super-Select 4WD, where the Patrol has forged a reputation of mechanical toughness and over-engineering.