Paging Dr. Yamashita: Nissan Wants Its Former Tech Head to Cure a Sick Misubishi

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
paging dr yamashita nissan wants its former tech head to cure a sick misubishi

In this play, Nissan is President Jimmy Carter and Mitsubishi is a bankrupt New York City.

Now that it has control of Mitsubishi, Nissan wants the scandal-plagued automaker to “heal thyself,” but it’s sending a guy over to make sure it happens, sources tell Reuters.

People close to the automaker say Nissan plans to put its longtime research and development head in charge of reforming the troubled Mitsubishi. The appointment of Mitsuhiko Yamashita as Mitsubishi tech chief is said to be in its final stages.

The automaker hasn’t confirmed the plan.

Mitsuhiko Yamashita was in charge of product and technology research and development at Nissan between 2005 and 2014. His move to tech chief at Mitsubishi could come as early as Wednesday’s emergency board meeting.

After buying a 34 percent stake ( at a rock-bottom price) in its former rival, Nissan can appoint a chairman and nominate representatives to its board of directors.

Mitsubishi’s vehicle sales and stock value took a hit after it admitted to fudging fuel economy ratings for Japanese-market vehicles since 1991. With financial fallout growing, rebuilding the company’s reputation and sales figures won’t be easy.

The turnaround of the brand won’t happen under president Tetsuro Aikawa, who came on board two years ago to do exactly that. Aikawa announced his resignation last week, with former president and CEO Osamu Masuko taking charge until a new top dog shows up.

Lots of top executives take the fall for their company’s wrongdoings (some would say not enough), but in Aikawa’s case, the distance between himself and the scandal is razor thin.

Aikawa headed the research and design division that issued false fuel economy ratings (by using American testing standards). He also served as lead engineer for the thirsty eK minicar that first tipped off regulators to the scandal.

“He was in the development section for a long time,” Tokyo auto analyst Takaki Nakanishi told Automotive News. “It had a long history of compliance issues.”

[Image: Nissan]

Join the conversation
3 of 10 comments
  • LS1Fan LS1Fan on May 25, 2016

    My Mitsubishi Recovery Plan. Basically, be the Japanese Pontiac. Step one: make well designed, good looking CUVs , and make them reliable. Right now speed doesn't matter. Wait five years. Then make a well, designed, good looking sedan. Name it the Galant. Make it reliable, and don't worry about the speed. Wait another five years. Then make a well designed, good looking 3000GT. Take the engine that's been made for the last ten years,twin turbocharge it, and drop it in with an AWD chassis + 6 speed manual. No SMGs, no DSGs , no paddle shifted timebomb transmissions.

    • Quasimondo Quasimondo on May 25, 2016

      Putting a split grille on everything Nissan makes is not the way to heal Mitsubishi

  • Andyinatl Andyinatl on May 25, 2016

    Maybe, just maybe they'll survive... They have some heritage to build on with Evos and Pajeros known around the world. I've actually seen the last model year of Montero (not Sport, but regular one) in pristine condition and i love the way it looks. The only other SUV in my mind that comes close is the 1991-1993 Land Cruiser, but those are hard to find as well with low mileage...

  • FreedMike Bicyclists.
  • FreedMike But will it have a badge?And maybe I don’t understand this whole truck thing, but isn’t 430 hp out of 7.3 liters a bit low? That’s not a whole lot better than the Coyote engine in the Mustang. I don’t see that as a selling point.
  • Goatshadow My favorite Lambo ever. It's gorgeous..
  • DenverMike Column shifter in all trims? Thank god someone is listening. The console shifter is just the stupidest thing ever. Frick just make the whole area useful utility. Luxury means something different in trucks. Definitely removable and I’ll make my own work station.
  • Joh65689020 1. Drape/ Masking-tape paint.2. Blue Coral (or any brand) chrome polish on PowerBall with cordless drill-driver.3. Buff lightly with microfiber towel to crystal clear finish.