Business / Corporate

Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi to set up new company to develop advanced tech for next-generation vehicles

Kyodo

Nissan Motor Co., Renault SA and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. have agreed to set up a new company to jointly develop advanced technologies for next-generation vehicles, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The sources said Sunday the alliance wants to bolster cooperation after its leader, Carlos Ghosn, was ousted.

Engineers from the three automakers will focus on studying artificial intelligence and other key technologies at the new company, and its operation scale and other details will be announced by the end of January, the sources said.

Nissan and Renault are jointly working on developing platforms and engines, and purchasing of parts under the alliance at present.

The three carmakers look to step up joint operations as the global auto industry faces a rapid shift in customer demand to connected, autonomous, shared and electric vehicles. The shift in the business environment is requiring automakers to boost investment in technology.

The new company is aimed at helping the Franco-Japanese auto group to share hefty development costs and speed up development, as the three partners have launched few new projects since Ghosn was discharged following his arrest in November last year.

Nissan launched a new management team Sunday led by newly appointed Chief Executive Makoto Uchida, who stepped in for Hiroto Saikawa after he admitted receiving overpayment of remuneration.

Under the new leadership, Japan’s second-biggest carmaker by volume plans to scale back its low-cost Datsun brand for emerging markets, people close to the matter said Sunday.

The Yokohama-based company will discontinue production of the inexpensive vehicles in Indonesia and Russia and halt their sales in some markets due to fierce price competition.

Nissan resuscitated the Datsun brand in 2014 as a pillar of a strategy to tap into booming markets under Ghosn, who was the top executive at the time.