Nissan has completed its acquisition of equity in Mitsubishi Motors, getting 34% of stock and becoming the Japanese carmaker’s largest stakeholder.
The plan is to continue to manufacture and distribute Mitsubishi nameplates around the world, as the brand becomes part of the Nissan Renault global alliance. The combination of the three nameplates makes the Alliance one of the top three global auto groups in sales (behind Toyota and Volkswagen) with estimated sales of 10 million units in 2016.
“The combination of Nissan, Mitsubishi Motors and Renault will create a new force in global car-making,” said Ghosn. “It will be one of the world’s three largest automotive groups, with the economies of scale, breakthrough technologies and manufacturing capabilities to produce vehicles to serve customer demand in every market segment and in every geographic market around the world.”
The two companies started talking in May at the request of Mitsubishi, following its fuel-economy crisis, though the two have for the past five years collaborated on the small “kei” people-movers/wagons ubiquitous in the Japanese domestic market — the Nissan Dayz and Mitsubishi eK (in various models).
“We are committed to assisting Mitsubishi Motors as it rebuilds customer trust,” said Ghosn. “This is a priority as we pursue the synergies and growth potential of our enlarged relationship.”
Ghosn is expected to become chairman of the Mitsubishi board, and Nissan has also nominated three other board members — Hitoshi Kawaguchi (chief sustainability officer and head of global external affairs), Hiroshi Karube (global controller and global asset manager) and Mitsuhiko Yamashita, who earlier this year joined Mitsubishi as executive VP of development, at the request of Osamu Masuko, Mitsubishi president and CEO.
Ghosn has also proposed changes to ease in transition, including the appointment of current Nissan chief competitive officer Hiroto Saikawa as Mitsubishi co-CEO, and Nissan Chief Performance Officer Trevor Mann as Mitsubishi Chief Operating Officer.
"I welcome Nissan's willingness to provide strategic, operational and management support as our new lead shareholder," said Masuko. "As part of our Board and management team, Nissan will help us to rebuild customer trust in our company and maximize potential future synergies through our deeper alliance."
Nissan and Mitsubishi are expected to collaborate on purchasing (for cost reductions), plant utilization, vehicle platforms and technology. Nissan Finance will also become the financing choice at Mitsubishi dealerships worldwide.
“At a time of unprecedented change in the global auto industry, this strategy will build on our existing strengths and management capabilities to ensure increased competitiveness, better products for our customers and attractive returns for shareholders,” concluded Ghosn.