Here's Why Nissan Was So Quick To Partially Buy Mitsubishi

Technology / Comments

It's not like Nissan felt sorry for its competitor.

Mitsubishi wasn't doing so well only a couple of weeks ago. That's when we first learned it's been cheating on emissions ratings for many of its Japanese market models for the past 25 years. Things were looking quite grim for several days, but an unlikely savior soon arose. Nissan is now in the process of buying 34 percent of the troubled automaker for a price of around $1.84 billion. Why would Nissan, which sold rebadged Mitsubishi kei cars in Japan under its own name, be willing to buy into the automaker that lied about those very cars' fuel economy?

Because Nissan lacks Mitsubishi's expertise in plug-in hybrid technology. Although Nissan has become a global leader in pure electrification tech, it's still too far behind in PHEV technology, according to a report from CarAdvice. For example, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV has become one of the world's best-selling plug-in hybrids. Renault-Nissan CEO, Carlos Ghosn, confirmed that "there are some pieces of technology (Mitsubishi) has and Renault/Nissan does not have, for example, PHEV, that Nissan was about to develop. (This) will help Nissan get this immediately. It will also give Mitsubishi bigger scale to allow it to reduce the cost of PHEV. It's more about sharing and benefiting from a larger scale."

Beginning in the very near future, we're going to start seeing Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi EVs and PHEVs share platforms and technologies, although each brand will retain their own unique design languages. As for Mitsubishi, however, this life-saving deal won't excuse it from expected government penalties for its quarter-century of lies.

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