By on December 3, 2009

French Shibari, aka financial tie-up. Picture courtesy Wikimedia.org

Renault has its Nissan. Jealous PSA seeks the company of a pretty Japanese bride of its own. Mitsubishi Motors Corp. confirmed to the Nikkei [sub] today that it is in talks with PSA Peugeot-Citroen about some financial shibari. The capital tie-up could see PSA take a majority position in Mitsubishi Motors.

“We have been talking whether we can have deeper relationship, and a capital tie-up is one among many options,” said a Mitsubishi Motors spokesman, declining to comment on the scale or value of any potential deal. The Nikkei [sub] reported earlier Thursday that PSA could buy a stake of 30 percent to 50 percent in Mitsubishi Motors and become its biggest shareholder.

The nampa between Mitsubishi and PSA had been off an on since 1999. Last September, PSA and Mitsubishi Motors signed a deal to allow the French company to start selling electric vehicles in Europe before the end of 2010. In October, Peugeot chief executive Philippe Varin said his company will have four small electric vehicles ready for sale in 2010, including two small city cars. One of these will be based on a vehicle Peugeot-Citroen will buy from Mitsubishi.

Apparently, the petting has progressed to third base.

PSA’s CEO had made noises recently that the Peugeot family may approve of a dalliance or alliance with another automotive group, provided that it creates value for Peugeot-Citroen shareholders and doesn’t impinge on its independence. Any deal would also need a “hai” from Mitsubishi Corp. and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., which have respective stakes of 14 percent and 15.6 percent in the Japanese auto maker.

The Mitsubishi group would be open to the PSA Peugeot Citroen Group taking a majority stake in Mitsubishi Motors Corp. an executive related to the matter said later on Thursday to the Nikkei [sub]

A “senior official of a major Mitsubishi group firm that owns Mitsubishi Motors preferred shares” (how about that for protecting a source) said to the Nikkei that “We are aware that, given the tough global competition, Mitsubishi Motors, which turns out about 1 million vehicles a year, would not be able to survive on its own.”

As for the possibility of Peugeot taking a majority stake, the executive said “It is natural to suppose so.”

As far as dalliances with gaijin carmakers go, Mitsubishi has been around the block a few times. 1971, a significant stake in the company was sold to Chrysler. Daimler-Chrysler was a controlling shareholder between 2000 and 2005.

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24 Comments on “PSA To Tie The Knot With Mitsubishi...”


  • avatar
    Cammy Corrigan

    I’ll be disappointed if Mitsubishi allow anything other than a PROPER merger of equals. There should be a reciprocal stake holding in each other to allow for that. Then, they can platform share, cross produce and utilise dealerships to their hearts content. Any imbalance would result in one company just being a subsidiary.
     
    On the face of it, if these 2 companies merge/allign with each other, it makes a hell of a lot of sense. PSA is strong where Mitsubishi is weak and vice versa. PSA would get a foothold into the North American market and Mitsubishi could get valuable volume to keep factories open.
     
    If Mitusbishi allow PSA to take a controlling stake or worse, complete takeover, then it’ll just be a case of natural selection in action.

    • 0 avatar
      John Horner

      PSA is nearly triple the size of Mitsubishi Motors and in general was doing well up until the recent recession. Mitsubishi, on the other hand, has been on the ropes for years. This is hardly a merger of equals scenario.
      http://oica.net/wp-content/uploads/world-ranking-2008.pdf
       

  • avatar
    Autojunkie

    Mitsubishi is baaaaaaad luck! They ruin every tie-up they ever have. Their cars are complete garbage!

    It was good knowing you PSA…

    • 0 avatar
      colin42

      They ruin every tie-up they ever have
      Mercedes hardly has a good track record on tie ups – Chrysler anyone?

      Their cars are complete garbage!
      When did you last drive a Mitsubishi? The Outlander & Lancer are both good produces. The Colt is also a strong product just not available in NA

      I think both would benefit – PSA a predominately a euro only company that has a reputation for bad quality (electrics) but their products are stylish and popular. Mitsubishi is sold in multiple regions but lack a range of products. They also have reasonable quality (which in NA they back up with a 5 year warranty)

  • avatar
    NickR

    That picture is actually kind of disturbing.

  • avatar
    Omoikane

    Good news for both companies.
    What will the other two orphans (global, large auto manufacturers but not large enough to survive)  do?
    Obviously, I’m talking about Mazda and Suzuki.

  • avatar

    Omoikane: Obviously, I’m talking about Mazda and Suzuki.

    Volkswagen’s  Piech is said to have longing eyes on Suzuki. He wants everything, from scooters to heavy trucks.  Now that the MAN/Scania matter is as good as done, the chatter in Gemany is that Piech is whispering “ai shiteru” into Suzuki’s ears.

    • 0 avatar
      Omoikane

      A VW- Suzuki takeover will make VW the number one automanufacturer overnight. And longer term prospects would look good, since Suzuki (Maruti) pretty much owns the Indian market.
      Well, that would leave Mazda… any takers?
      Hyundai….?, Fiat…..?, anyone…?

    • 0 avatar
      colin42

      What is the latest on MAN / Scania? I haven’t heard anything for months.

    • 0 avatar
      educatordan

      Isn’t great to have someone who doesn’t give a shit in charge of one of the world’s great car manufactures, a guy who just seems to have an attitude like; “I’ll do whatever I want to satisfy my ego, the rest of you can FOAD.”

  • avatar

    What is the latest on MAN / Scania? I haven’t heard anything for months.
    This is not within the TTAC purview, so I give you the skinny: VW holds 70% of Scania and 30% of MAN.  Piech heads the Supervisory board of MAN. MAN top management is embroiled in a payola affair, the whole top of MAN just resigned. Many opine with the help of Piech. Just his style. It is widely expected that VW will buy more MAN stock (cheap right now)  and amalgamate the whole VW/Scania/MAN truck business. About time.

  • avatar
    Tricky Dicky

    This deal only makes sense if you understand the French longing to create a dominant position in EVs. Mitsubishi are the first to mass-market and EV and that is arousing the French interest.  Mitsubishi’s finances are terrible – the FT says that “they have a balance sheet that only a mother would love”!
    Also, PSA’s strategic desire is to get into the BRICs, not to try and leverage Mitsubishi’s US dealerships.

  • avatar
    Ernie

    Hey if we’re starting wild-ass rumors about Mazda, can we make it a good one?
    Howsabout BMW? :)
    (Hey! I can dream!)
     

  • avatar

    I’m all for it if I can buy a Purgeot hot hatch at a North American Mitsubishi dealership.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    A complete merger of the two companies makes strategic sense. The two companies are strongest in markets where the other is weak or non-existent. Big opportunities for platform sharing done right and better utilization of overhead costs. As with all mergers, the hard part is making it work. That comes down to the handful of people in charge post-merger. Do they have the chops for the job?

  • avatar
    fincar1

    If Peugeots become available in the United States, all the old Rambler drivers who can’t get another Volvo will buy them.

  • avatar
    Mr Carpenter

    Of course, old Rambler drivers still exist.  Remember how popular Rambler “cross country” bog slow, six cylinder station wagons were in the late 1950′s and early 1960′s? 

    The spiritual successors of these Rambler owners (and some of the actual original Rambler buyers) now buy Subaru station wagons. 

    Think about it.  Functional.  Check.  Not stylish.  Check.  Versatile.  Check.  Good traction (i.e. some of the largest sellers of “Twin Grip” limited slip differentials in the 1960′s and all wheel drive in the 1990′s/2000′s).   Check.  Family friendly.  Check.  Not generally oversized/smaller than average.  Check. 

    It’s all there if you look.

  • avatar
    Mr Carpenter

    A three way merger of Suzuki, Mitsubishi and PSA would make a lot of sense, too.

    Suzuki is HUGE in India (via Maruti), one of the top growth areas in the world.

    A merged Suzuki-Mitsubishi-PSA effort in China would be HUGE. 

    Mitsubishi and Suzuki could merge sales operations in the USA which would give both of them sufficient dealership coverage.

    Plus the electric cars could be eventually built, if demand existed, in the USA. 

    A new Mitsubishi Galant based upon the latest 408 Peugeot would be really nice….  it would need to be built in Mitsubishi’s Normal, Illinois plant to save on Euro-to-Dollar losses. 

    In the USA, Suzuki could be lower priced and sporty cars and small SUVs while Mitsubishi could be enviro-and upmarket cars and crossovers, with Peugeot flavoring on the larger cars. 

    Then as the economy improves in the USA, bring back Peugeot (built in Normal) as an up-market brand sold by all Suzuki-Mitsubishi-Peugeot dealers in the USA and Canada.  

    For the USA:

    http://jalopnik.com/298016/tokyo-auto-show-mitsubishi-concept-zt
    http://www.eurocarblog.com/post/1851/new-renders-of-future-peugeot-408

    Suzuki/Peugeot dealers:

    Suzuki

    Swift
    SX4
    Kizashi
    Grand Vitara

    Peugeot

    308 (Brazilian built?)
    408 (US built, Suzuki Kizashi 4 cyl.)
    5008 (mpv) (US built, Suzuki Kizashi 4 cyl.)
    608 (New/US built/based on a lengthened/widened 408 + Suzuki 3.6 V6?)

    Mitsubishi Dealers:

    MiEV
    i
    Colt
    Lancer
    Evo
    Galant ZT (408 based, Kizashi 4 cyl., US built)
    RVR
    Outlander
    Triton
    Delica


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