Ghosn Rules Out Nissan Merger, Wants Mitsubishi To Reform

Carlos Ghosn, chairman of both firms, said on Tuesday said that a full merger of Japanese car makers Mitsubishi Motors Corp (MMC) and Nissan Motor Co Ltd is not on the table.

“Full merger is not on the table. We want Mitsubishi to reform itself,” said Ghosn. The chairman was attending the opening ceremony of a new Mitsubishi factory on the outskirts of Jakarta.

In areas where it makes sense, it was likely for Mitsubishi and Nissan to cross-manufacture, he also said.

After the smaller automaker admitted to cheating on mileage tests, Nissan bought a controlling stake in Mitsubishi for $2.3 billion last year.

Mitsubishi’s chief operating officer had told Reuters in March that as they looked for savings within the broader Renault-Nissan alliance, Mitsubishi and Nissan were studying joint production of pickup trucks in Southeast Asia.

Ghosn is also chairman of Renault.

Meanwhile, from 6 percent at present, he estimated Mitsubishi would have a 10 percent share of Indonesia’s car market in three years, Mitsubishi Chief Executive Officer Osamu Masuko said.

Helped by sales of multi-purpose vehicles, he said he expected a nearly 40 percent sales increase in Indonesia, this year.

Indonesia is also growing as a regional production base and overtook Thailand as Southeast Asia’s largest car market in recent years.

According to the Association of Indonesia Automotive Industries (Gaikindo), nearly 1.1 million vehicles were sold in the country of 250 million people last year.

Partly due to its extensive distribution network, Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp has long dominated the Indonesian market. The country’s largest distributor, PT Astra International Tbk, has a long-standing partnership with Toyota.

Meanwhile, at the new manufacturing facility Mitsubishi officially opened on Tuesday, Mitsubishi and Nissan are studying joint production of so-called multi-purpose “people mover” vehicles.

In order to “make a derivative … for Nissan”, the possibility of using a new Mitsubishi multi-purpose vehicle, whose production is due to start later this year at the new plant near Jakarta, is now being explored by Nissan, Trevor Mann, Mitsubishi Motors’ chief operating officer, told Reuters.

Designed and built to have capacity to produce 160,000 vehicles a year is the new plant at Bekasi. Mann said that in order to export some models to other markets in the region such as Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines, Mitsubishi also plans to make use of the factory.

(Adapted from Reuters)

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