Nissan has formally acquired a 34 per cent stake in Mitsubishi Motors, and taken effective control of the smaller, scandal-beset Japanese car maker.
As part of Nissan’s acquisition of a controlling share in the tri-diamond brand,Mitsubishi will join the Renault-Nissan Alliance.
According to Nissan, this will mean that the Alliance will have sales of around 10 million units and should be placed within the world’s top three automakers by volume. Currently these places are taken by Toyota, the Volkswagen Group, and General Motors.
Announcing the purchase overnight, Carlos Ghosn, CEO of both Renault and Nissan, stated that the two Japanese car makers will now work together on common vehicle architectures, sharing manufacturing facilities, joint purchasing, and technology sharing.
He estimated that Nissan will see cost saving benefits worth around 24 billion yen ($300 million) during the 2017 Japanese financial year, growing to around 60 billion yen ($750 million) in 2018 and beyond.
Nissan agreed to take a controlling stake in Mitsubishi Motors after it was revealed in April this year that Mitsubishi had falsified the fuel economy figures of a number of kei cars, which were sold under both the Nissan and Mitsubishi brands.
Not long afterwards, the scandal widened when Mitsubishi confirmed that it had been doctoring domestic market fuel economy numbers since 1991.
Above: Nissan Dayz Roox, a Mitsubishi-developed kei car caught with falsified fuel economy numbers.
In recent years, as the cost of developing new cars has skyrocketed, Mitsubishi has increasingly focused its efforts on its SUV range and economy cars, leaving the popular Lancer range in limbo.
As part of these money saving moves, Nissan and Mitsubishi have collaborated on a number of domestic kei car models. Mitsubishi also rebadges a number of Nissan vehicles, including the NV200 van, Wingroad cargo wagon, and Infinity Q70 sedan.
Now that Nissan effectively controls Mitsubishi Motors’ boardroom, it has elected four of its own to take up key roles. These include Carlos Ghosn as Mitsubishi’s new chairman, as well as Hitoshi Kawaguchi, Nissan’s chief sustainability officer, and Hiroshi Karube, Nissan’s global asset manager.
Nissan has also re-elected Mitsuhiko Yamashita, who was the company’s representative on Mitsubishi’s board before the today’s takeover. In addition Trevor Mann, formerly Nissan’s chief performance officer, will now assume the role of Mitsubishi’s chief operating officer.
To ease the burden on Ghosn, Nissan has shuffled its executive pack. One of the key changes is the appointment of Hiroto Saikawa as Nissan’s co-CEO.