The alliance's future has been decided.
The rumors began last month when some claimed Nissan intended to sell its 34 percent stake in Mitsubishi. Both automakers have since denied this. As Nissan also continues its quest to financially recover, Mitsubishi is doing the same by cutting back its presence in major markets, such as Europe. But one thing is for certain: Mitsubishi can't make it without Nissan. Instead of drifting apart, the two are actually moving closer together. Literally.
Automotive News reports that following Mitsubishi North America's having moved its US headquarters from Southern California to Franklin, Tennessee to be closer to Nissan's own HQ, cooperation will increase. The lack of physical distance will enable both brands to work more closely together on a range of product issues. For example, the all-new Mitsubishi Outlander, due in the coming months, will share a platform with the also-new Nissan Rogue.
The Outlander will continue to have its own unique styling inside and out, but its bones will be Nissan. And like the Rogue, the Outlander is the brand's best-seller in the US. Outside of America, Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida said both companies are working hard to blend their respective strengths beyond the existing cooperation in minicars, EVs, and the Southeast Asian market in general. Future US projects are likely but Uchida admitted both brands still have individual work to do.
"Right now, we are not discussing much. We say it this way - for a Mitsubishi plan, they need to build their own strategy in the US," he said. "If they think they want support from Nissan, then of course, we can support. So each brand has to build their own strategy. That comes first."
The Japanese automakers are part of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, though the latter joined only four years ago. At the time, Mitsubishi was in bad shape but its new alliance membership changed everything for the better.
Beyond the new Outlander, Mitsubishi has offered very few details about future products. The Eclipse Cross received some minor updates for 2021. The Mirage sedan and hatchback, despite their age, are two of the lowest-priced new vehicles on sale right now and Mitsubishi intends to use that as a way to appeal to budget shoppers who simply require basic transportation.