The question of what company in the three-legged stool that is Renault Nissan Mitsubishi might acquire the other two has been broached a few times since Mitsubishi was added. The issue is apparently important enough for Carlos Ghosn, who heads up the three companies, to address recently.
“Anybody who will ask Nissan and Mitsubishi to become wholly owned subsidiaries of Renault has zero chance of getting a result,” Ghosn told shareholders of Mitsubishi Motors at a meeting las week.
Ghosn is CEO of Renault as well and chairman of Nissan. He recently turned over the role of CEO there to Hiroto Saikawa. The simple reason for encouraging the automakers to work together but remain autonomous is simple: You don’t fix what isn’t broken.
The alliance was the world’s top-selling passenger vehicle maker in 2017, after adding Mitsubishi. However, the question is likely to arise more and more often as the 64-year-old Ghosn closes in on retirement.
(Nissan’s Fred Diaz to run Mitsubishi’s North American operations. Click Here for the story.)
It was reported the three carmakers were discussing a deeper tie-up, which could see the French government, a major shareholder in Renault, give up influence at Renault and the French carmaker relinquish control over Nissan, according to Reuters.
However, nothing more was publicly revealed about the discussions, but that clearly hasn’t ended the ongoing speculation about the status of the companies.
(Click Here for more about Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi taking the global sales lead.)
The three companies are tied together through significant ownership stakes in each other. Renault holds 43.4% of shares in Nissan, while Nissan owns 15% of Renault, but has no voting rights. That pairing took place in 1999, which Mitsubishi was added 2016 after Ghosn and the partnership swooped into to right the foundering ship that was Mitsubishi, plagued by scandals, Nissan took a 34% controlling stake.
Saikawa has said the alliance is not discussing a “full merger” of the three makers. All along, Ghosn maintained the goal of the alliance was to sell more cars and increase profits by eliminating redundancy. This was supposed to be done while each company remained independent.
(Update: Ghosn successor plan wins approval. Click Here for the details.)
“We need to work together … to find a system by which what we have today, which is working very well, can continue in the future no matter who is leading the alliance,” he said, according to Reuters.