Mitsubishi Is The Big Winner In New Renault-Nissan Alliance

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The once-struggling Japanese brand will be able to expand in North America, among other perks.

Renault and Nissan have officially announced the Board of Directors' approval of the restructured alliance under intense negotiations for the past several weeks, and junior partner Mitsubishi will also see benefits. The alliance dates back to 1999 and has been significantly renegotiated following the arrest and subsequent ousting of now-former CEO Carlos Ghosn in 2018.

Issues such as Nissan's demand to keep its proprietary EV technology safe in regard to Renault's deal with Chinese automaker Geely have been resolved, and some of the other highlights of the deal are pretty interesting. For example, Nissan will manufacture a new model for Renault in Mexico, the first time a Renault vehicle has been built there in two decades.

There are no plans, however, to sell this model in the US. Renault has no plans to enter the US market, though its Alpine performance brand aims to sell a pair of EV crossovers here in 2027 or 2028.

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The French automaker will also expand its business in Latin America. But what about Mitsubishi? How will it benefit from the highly competitive North American market? Under the new agreement, Mitsubishi now has the option to invest in Ampere, the EV and software company founded by Renault.

This is a big deal for Mitsubishi because it can gain access to a vast amount of electrified vehicle technology. Renault and Nissan aim to build 30 new electric vehicles under this venture. Mitsubishi does not currently have any pure battery-electric vehicles in its lineup. The press release did not provide a timeline or other details regarding future Mitsubishi EVs.

Currently, the only electrified model it sells is the Outlander plug-in Hybrid. Mitsubishi's newfound access to Ampere should be able to help provide the opportunity it needs to expand its presence in the US, where it sells just four models right now, each more forgettable than the last. US sales dropped by a troubling 16% in 2022.

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Both Mitsubishi and Nissan will also become customers of Renault's Horse project, which is an initiative to achieve further scale and market coverage for low-emission ICE and hybrid powertrain technologies. Nissan has a 34% stake in Mitsubishi through a 2016 deal negotiated by Ghosn. Renault, however, has no direct stake.

Mitsubishi CEO Takao Kato hinted to the media there are plans to expand the lineup in the US and other regions but refused to provide further details.

Almost a year ago, we reported that Mitsubishi had sold one of its SUV plants in Japan to a toilet paper company to help generate much-needed cash. The facility had previously manufactured the now-discontinued Pajero. Given the brand's long SUV history, we wouldn't be surprised to see an all-electric SUV arrive soon thanks to the reborn alliance.

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