Ghosn Puts on Third 'Mr. Chairman' Hat as Nissan Officially Takes Control of Mitsubishi
Mitsubishi has officially tied the knot with its savior, making Renault-Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn the only automotive executive in the world (and possibly the galaxy) to head three companies.
The $2.29 billion deal gives Ghosn’s Renault-Nissan alliance a 34 percent controlling stake in Mitsubishi — a financial lifeline for the struggling, scandal-plagued automaker. Already, the company’s new chairman (and demoted former chair) have big, big plans for the Mirage maker.
In addition to Ghosn plunking himself in the driver’s seat, three Nissan executives join Mitsubishi’s 11-member board. Trevor Mann, Nissan’s former chief performance officer, is now the new CEO. The automaker’s very apologetic former chairman and president, Osamu Masuko, keeps his “president” title, but nothing else.
Of course, all of this job shuffling still needs the green light from Mitsu shareholders. That should come in December.
What does the entry into the Alliance mean for Mitsubishi? The world, apparently. Earlier this month, Ghosn said the biggest impact would be felt in America. By tapping into Renault-Nissan’s engineering prowess and adopting its platforms and engines, the impact on Mitsubishi will be “massive,” he claimed.
As Ghosn dreams up the best way to inject new product life into Mitsubishi, Masuko’s mind is on reputation and all-important finances. In a statement, the company president claims the deal will “rebuild customer trust in our company and maximize potential future synergies,” with savings beginning right off the bat.
He expects to realize nearly a quarter-billion dollars in savings (“synergies” in executive speak) next year alone, and predicts a profit margin boost of five percent in the next three years. Speaking at the announcement, Masuko said he wants the brand to reach where Nissan is today. Or try to, at least.
The deal’s benefits aren’t Mitsubishi’s alone. Nissan, which lags in the hybrid technology department, gains its new partner’s advanced plug-in hybrid system, which Ghosn says will become the standard of the alliance. That system is at the heart of the company’s Outlander PHEV, a wildly popular model in Europe that’s on a very slow boat to the U.S.
Nissan also plans to make inroads in underperforming markets, including southeast Asia, where a rebadged Mitsubishi minivan will soon go on sale.
[Source: Automotive News Europe] [Image: Mitsubishi Motors]
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