Renault-Nissan, Mitsubishi to expand cooperation
TOKYO (AP) — The Renault-Nissan alliance and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. said Tuesday they will expand cooperation in developing new vehicles, including small cars and full-size sedans.
The announcement follows a reshuffle of Nissan leadership last week that Carlos Ghosn, president and CEO of the Renault-Nissan alliance, said was needed to shape up the automaker’s sagging performance.
Nissan Motor Co., Japan’s second-largest automaker, and Mitsubishi will develop a new small car through their existing joint venture, to be sold globally, including an electric version. The car will be based on the “kei car” platform popular in Japan, the companies said in a statement.
The joint venture, NMKV, was set up in 2011 and is selling Nissan Dayz and Mitsubishi eK Wagon mini-cars made in Japan.
“Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors have jointly benefited from several collaborations in the past, most recently the successful joint venture on ‘kei’ cars in Japan,” Ghosn said.
Meanwhile, Renault-Nissan and Mitsubishi said they will share technologies and products related to other electric vehicles. Renault and Mitsubishi also will develop sedans based on Renault’s platform but under Mitsubishi’s brand.
The first would be made at a Renault plant in Busan, South Korea. The manufacturing location for the second is not yet decided.
Mitsubishi Motors is a medium-sized Japanese automaker whose profitability has been improving as it expands its overseas sales.
Nissan’s share price plunged 10.4 percent on Monday after the company cut its March-April fiscal year earnings forecast and reshuffled its leadership lineup to cope with quality issues and tougher-than-expected conditions in many markets.
Ghosn also blamed painfully expensive recalls for the lackluster performance.