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Nissan, Mitsubishi to expand business tie-up


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Nissan, Mitsubishi to expand business tie-up

Tomoko A. Hosaka / Associated Press

Tokyo— Nissan Motor Co. and smaller rival Mitsubishi Motors Corp. will deepen business ties to get ahead in the fiercely competitive global car industry, including establishing a minicar joint venture in Japan that could eventually expand to other countries.

In the agreement announced today, the two Japanese automakers will also make more cars for each other under what is known as an "original equipment manufacture" or OEM partnership. Under such a deal, one automaker supplies vehicles to another automaker to sell under its own brand, enabling companies to lower production costs through economies of scale.

Nissan will produce a small van to be sold under the Mitsubishi brand for the Japanese market, while Mitsubishi will make an SUV sold under the Nissan brand in the Mideast, the companies said.

To cope with capacity shortfalls in Thailand, Nissan will shift production of its brisk-selling Navara pickup truck to Mitsubishi's plant in Thailand, said Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn. It may collaborate on a new one-ton pickup model as well.

"In the global auto industry, cooperation on specific projects among automakers is becoming increasingly common," Ghosn said at a joint press conference with his Mitsubishi counterpart.

"It is, in fact, a signal of how our industry is evolving to sustain success over the long term, by leveraging size, scale and investments more effectively to create more value," he said.

News of the deal leaked out before the announcement, sending investors scrambling to buy Mitsubishi shares. The issue surged 8.5 percent, while Nissan rose just 0.3 percent.

In Japan, Nissan aims to bolster its market share to 15 percent from the current 13 percent. To do that, Ghosn said, it needs to increase its presence in the growing minicar market — an area of particular expertise for Mitsubishi.

The two companies are moving to establish a 50-50 joint venture next year and release a new minicar model in 2012. Mitsubishi President Osamu Masuko said he hopes the JV will fuse his company's design and production know-how with Nissan's strong purchasing power.

Mini vehicles are defined by specifications unique to Japan: maximum length of 11.15 feet, width of 4.86 feet, height of 6.56 feet and engine displacement of less than 660 cc.

The category is popular in Japan for its money-saving potential, including lower fuel costs and taxes, as well as maneuverability in narrow back streets. They currently comprise about a third of Japan's annual vehicle sales.

With demand for low-cost cars growing around the world, Ghosn said minicars have potential in overseas markets.

A strong backbone in Japan "allows us to really come with the products that could be competitive even outside Japan, and we want to pursue this opportunity with Mitsubishi," he said.

Nissan and Mitsubishi aren't the only ones eyeing the minicar market. In September, Toyota Motor Corp., the world's biggest automaker, announced plans to expand its product line to include minivehicles made by subsidiary Daihatsu Motor Co.

Nissan and Mitsubishi may collaborate on electric cars sometime in the future, but it's "too early" to embark on anything concrete, Ghosn said.

Nissan makes the Leaf, among the world's first mass-market electric vehicles, which was rolled out last week. Mitsubishi's i-MiEV electric minicar went on sale in Japan in April.

"There is no absolute opposition to cooperation," Ghosn said. "We can, if we have a win-win situation, if we have mutual benefits."

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20101214/AUTO01/12140394/Nissan--Mitsubishi-to-expand-business-tie-up#ixzz185mWObEU

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Nissan And Mitsubishi Extend Partnership, Swapping Models

By Viknesh Vijayenthiran


December 14th, 2010


2010 Mitsubishi Outlander SEEnlarge PhotoWhat many may not know, Nissan and Mitsubishi have been working together for the past several years, mostly overseas, sharing components and whole vehicle platforms. The two currently have several OEM agreements for vehicles in the Japanese market, including for minicars and commercial vehicles.

Today, Nissan and Mitsubishi have announced that they plan to expand their current scope of cooperation towards new projects, with a focus once again on the minicar and commercial vehicle segments, but this time on a global scale.

Initially, Nissan will supply a compact van to Mitsubishi for the Japanese domestic market and in return will receive an SUV model for sale in the Middle East.

While this is nothing to rave about, there are currently talks in place for Nissan to provide Mitsubishi with premium models. Further down the track, the two are even looking at sharing capacity at idle factories and establishing a 50:50 joint venture for product planning and engineering of new minicars.



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Nissan and Mitsubishi Plan Deeper Ties, Expand OEM Projects



Japan's Nissan Motor Corp. and Mitsubishi Motors today announced that they plan to deepen their business ties by establishing a new minicar joint venture in Japan and further expanding their OEM projects, to save costs and increase their competitiveness in the global car industry.

Under the new agreement, the automakers will build more cars for each other under what is known in the industry as an "original equipment manufacturer" or OEM partnership.

In particular, Nissan will provide a light van/wagon to Mitsubishi for the Japanese domestic market, while Mitsubishi will offer an SUV to Nissan for markets in the Middle East. In addition, discussions are ongoing for Nissan to provide Mitsubishi with upper-end segment models for the Japanese domestic market.

The two companies added that they are studying the establishment of a 50:50 joint venture for product planning and engineering of mini cars for the Japanese market, as well as the manufacture of the current generation of Nissan Navara pickup truck at Mitsubishi Motors' plant in Thailand.

Further down the line, the two companies said they are evaluating the manufacturing and engineering collaboration of a new generation one-ton pickup truck.

Nissan President and CEO Carlos Ghosn said: "This agreement is important for Nissan as it supports our expansion in emerging markets, meets immediate capacity needs overseas, and enables us to grow our mini car business in Japan. Our relationship with Mitsubishi demonstrates the ability of the Renault-Nissan Alliance - with its network of global partnerships - to constantly evolve and create new win-win relationships with other companies in function of specific needs and shared objectives".

Mitsubishi Motors President Osamu Masuko said: "Amid the drastically changing economic and market environments, Mitsubishi Motors is in partnership with PSA Peugeot Citroën in the areas of SUVs and EVs, and is always searching for other optimal solutions suited for each area of our business. This agreement to expand our business cooperation with Nissan is founded on our good business relationship since 2003, through several OEM agreements of mini cars and commercial vehicles. I believe that the expansion of our OEM agreement will complement each others' regional characteristics and product lineup, and the one-ton pickup and mini car projects will be the best solution to strengthen each others' competitiveness".



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Report: Nissan, Mitsubishi will work together on small, possibly electric, cars

by Sebastian Blanco (RSS feed) on Dec 15th 2010 at 6:30PM


Following reports that Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) will open a new, efficient global small car plant in Thailand, rumors that MMC and Nissan are talking about a 50-50 joint company in 2011 are a lot more interesting. Automotive News is reporting that the two Japanese automakers could bring a small car to market together in 2012 and – here's where it gets good – they might also work together on electric vehicles. Mitsubishi has been making the Mitsubishi iMiEV for years and Nissan just delivered its first Leaf. The two automakers also participate in a joint car-sharing program in Kyoto, Japan.

According to a statement from Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, no details have been decided, but an analyst at a consulting company in Tokyo told AN, "The alliance of the two automakers seems to be a good one as we can expect more cooperation in electric vehicles going forward." Ghosn's statement said the partnership, "is important for Nissan as it supports our expansion in emerging markets, meets immediate capacity needs overseas and enables us to grow our minicar business in Japan."

Mitsubishi and Nissan already work together on some vehicles, like the Mitsubishi Lancer Cargo (made by Nissan) and the Minicab, Town Box, eKWagon and Pajero Mini models (built by Mitsubishi for Nissan).



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Will Mitsubishi, Nissan Partner On Battery Cars?

An alliance could be “a good one,” says Ghosn.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Dec.16, 2010

Mitsubishi and Nissan plan to cooperate on conventional vehicles - but may also partner on battery cars like Mitsubishi's iMIEV.

Nissan and Mitsubishi have announced a new joint venture, one that will have the two Japanese makers working together on a new minicar and other products. But the two are apparently looking at other options that could include the joint production of electric vehicles – an emerging market segment where both makers have been staking out an early lead.

Nissan’s tie-up with the smaller, still-struggling Mitsubishi is just the latest partnership engineered by Ghosn, who first went to Tokyo in 1999 to manage an alliance between Nissan and the French automaker, Renault. Since then, Ghosn has pushed the partners into a variety of other alliances and joint ventures, including a far-reaching partnership with Germany’s Daimler AG.

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“In the global auto industry, cooperation on specific projects among automakers is becoming increasingly common,” Ghosn said at a Tokyo news conference. ”It is, in fact, a signal of how our industry is evolving to sustain success over the long term, by leveraging size, scale and investments more effectively to create more value.”

Will the battery drive system from the Nissan Leaf wind up in a future Mitsubishi product?

The initial focus of the Nissan-Mitsubishi joint venture will be to develop an array of conventionally-powered vehicles, including a Nissan van that will be sold in Japan under the Mitsubishi badge. In turn, the smaller maker will produce an SUV that Nissan can market in the Mideast.

But the most significant effort will be the development of a new minicar. That segment now accounts for a full third of automotive sales in Japan – and is becoming increasingly important in other parts of the world, notably including Europe.

While Ghosn declined to confirm reports that Nissan and Mitsubishi will also work together on a battery car program, he did little to dissuade such talk.

“The alliance of the two automakers seems to be a good one as we can expect more cooperation in electric vehicles going forward.,” the Brazilian-born executive suggested.

The two makers have already been working on a variety of joint product programs, including the Pajero Mini, which is produced by Mitsubishi for Nissan, and the Lancer Cargo, which goes the reverse direction.

But the possibility of having the two companies work together on battery car programs raises some significant opportunities.

Nissan delivered the first of its Leaf battery cars to a U.S. buyer, last weekend, and is looking to ramp up production in the coming months as it stages a staggered global roll-out. By mid-decade, the Japanese maker and its French alliance partner plan to have capacity in place to produce at least 550,000 battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs, annually.

Mitsubishi’s target numbers are lower, but it is nonetheless hoping to establish a significant presence in the battery car market, starting with the launch, next year, of the iMIEV. (For more on the Mitsubishi battery car program,

While collaboration is becoming less unusual in the conventional automotive market, it is becoming quite common in battery-car programs. Toyota, for example, is working with the California-based start-up, Tesla Motors, on a lithium-powered version of the RAV4. Tesla is also working with Daimler AG on battery propulsion systems for its Smart and Mercedes-Benz line-ups.

Ford, meanwhile, has partnered with several outside suppliers, including battery vehicle maker Azure Dynamics, on two of its own products. The first, the Transit Connect Electric, is just going to market, while a battery-powered sedan, the Ford Focus Electric, will launch during the 2012 model-year.



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