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Sacked Ghosn: How Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance plays out in NZ

on November 20 2018 | in Industry news, Latest news | by | with Comments Off

What will the sacking of Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance chairman Carlos Ghosn (above) mean for the carmaking French-Japanese conglomerate?

Nissan chief executive Hiroto Saikawa said Ghosn’s dismissal from Nissan for alleged “numerous acts” of financial misconduct won’t disrupt the three-way alliance.

“The alliance partnership will not be affected by this event,” Saikawa told a press conference in Japan. But he criticised Ghosn’s decision-making and speculated as to how the alleged misdeeds could have happened. In short, Saikawa said he felt “a strong sense of indignation and despair”.

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi combo was Brazillian-born Ghosn’s powerbase – he was the creator, the towering figure in the global set-up, the chairman of the two Japanese firms and chairman and chief executive of Renault. The Japanese dubbed him ‘Mr Fix It.’

Will his downfall ­– allegedly for under reporting his Nissan salary package to the Japanese stock exchange, a practice not unknown among business bigwigs in Japan – mean a restructuring of the alliance?

Who owns what? Renault owns 43 per cent of Nissan; Nissan in turn owns 15 per cent of Renault and 34 per cent of Mitsubishi. The Renault-Nissan Alliance also has strong tie-ups with Daimler in Germany, Avtoaz in Russia, and Dongfeng in China.

The alliance began in 1999 when Renault, under Ghosn’s leadership, rescued the almost-broke Nissan. Nissan, at the time, had a separate platform for each of its models, roughly 12 in all, and was bleeding money. Ghosn almost immediately cut platforms to six. The deal resulted in Nissan’s 15 per cent holding in its parent.

Mitsubishi became part of the Renault-Nissan alliance in October 2016. Nissan spent US$2.2 billion for its 34 per cent stake in Mitsubishi, effectively helping its Japanese rival cope with the financial hit expected from Mitsubishi’s admission that it inflated fuel economy data on domestic models, including two it built for Nissan.

The scandal quickly broadened to include Mitsubishi’s entire range of small domestic cars. Ghosn said the deal would help Mitsubishi address the challenges it faced, particularly in restoring consumers’ trust

What’s what in New Zealand? In short …

  • Nissan X-Trail SUV shares its platform with the Renault Koleos SUV.
  • Nissan Navara ute uses Renault diesel engines and gearboxes.
  • Mercedes-Benz X-Class ute shares its platform with the Nissan Navara and its diesel engine with Renault.
  • The next-generation Mitsubishi Triton ute – due in 2021 – is expected to be based on the next-generation Navara ute.
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