Threesomes can get burdensome to keep together. Didn’t we report in January that Ford, Mazda, and China’s Changan want to end the ménage-a-la-trois and forge their individual joint ventures? It was quickly dismissed as “speculation.” Just because it’s a speculation doesn’t mean that it won’t come true.
Ford, Mazda, and Changan have asked the Chinese government to dissolve their three-way tie up, Reuters says.
As reported months ago, Ford and Mazda plan to engage in separate joint ventures with Changan. Both are looking for the usual 50:50 deal.
“They have submitted a joint proposal to the Chinese government to split up the partnership. Ford’s new JV with Changan will be based in Chongqing, while Mazda’s venture will be based in Nanjing,” said an unnamed source to Reuters.
Also, the denials stopped. Ford and Changan gave a “no comment.” Mazda said to Reuters they are “awaiting regulatory approval for a restructuring move,” but they wouldn’t go into details. Gasgoo even reports that “Mazda told the media that it is true that Mazda and Ford will separate the joint-venture in China.”
Ever since Ford reduced its controlling 33 percent stake in Mazda to 11 percent in 2008 to raise cash, the couple has become increasingly estranged. If an executive from Ford wants to attend a meeting at Mazda, the matters discussed must be carefully vetted beforehand and signed-off in advance. Mazda is rumored to look for another beau, but none has surfaced so far.
Splitsville in the world’s largest auto market is “a good move as a three-way tie could get complicated sometimes. The biggest beneficiary, however, would be Mazda as it could be an equal partner in the new tie,” said Chen Liang, an analyst with Huatai Securities.
The Wall Street Journal has its own version of the three-way divorce. They found “a person close to the situation” who said that “he suspects Changan may be marginally interested in having the application approved. Changan may well prefer the status quo of having its two foreign partners as weak minority stakeholders of the joint venture.”
Understandable. But imagine being in bed with two beauties who scratch each other’s eyes out. Let me tell you: No fun at all.