Nissan and Mitsubishi have officially confirmed the deal that transfers 34% of Mitsubishi’s shares to Nissan, giving it a controlling stake of the competitor. The deal has cost Nissan US$ 2.2 billion. With that, the Mitsubishi group, one of the largest in Japan, finally gets rid of its ailing automotive branch, while Nissan reinforces its position in the Japanese market and broadens its production scale.
The deal has come as a solution for Mitsubishi to keep alive after it has admitted to fraud fuel economy tests in Japan. Curiously, it was Nissan that found out Mitsubishi was cheating. The matter came to light due to a car that Nissan buys from Mitsubishi to sell as its own. Since then, the Japanese carmaker has admitted having cheated fuel consumption rates in 9 models, such as the RVR, sold in most other markets as ASX. It also claims it has cheated only in the Japanese market, but who can be sure of that at this point?
The Japanese carmaker is facing a really bad moment worldwide. Not only due to the fuel economy scandal. It ended car production in the USA last year and, in Brazil, its current president, Robert de Macedo Rittcher, and the former one, Paulo Arantes Ferraz, were condemned by corruption and money laundry. They were investigated in the Zelotes operation, a bribery scandal in which Brazilian officials created special laws favoring some automakers in exchange for “a little financial help”. MMC Automotores is not really a company from the Japanese group, since it produces its cars under license, but this surely puts another brick in the bad reputation wall Mitsubishi has built around itself.
With Nissan’s control, things may change a bit. And they must change a lot in order to keep legends such as the Lancer Evotion alive and kicking.