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Renault-Nissan to help Mitsubishi expand in China
Hans Greimel | 2017/6/27

TOKYO -- Mitsubishi Motors Corp. plans to spur additional sales in China and the United States by using the Renault-Nissan "toolbox" of products, technologies and factories, top executives said. 

Mitsubishi has been unable to gain sufficient traction in the world's two biggest auto markets because it has been short on resources, said Mitsubishi Chairman Carlos Ghosn.
 
That will be remedied now, Ghosn said Friday in advance of the automaker's annual shareholders meeting. At the press conference, Ghosn was flanked by Mitsubishi CEO Osamu Masuko.

"A lot of this potential depends on new products," Ghosn said of Mitsubishi's turnaround. "There are a lot of needs which have not been addressed by Mitsubishi because Mitsubishi doesn't have the technology or doesn't have the segment or did not have the platform." 

Under the comeback plan, Masuko wants to triple Mitsubishi's China sales to 300,000 vehicles a year in the early 2020s, from fewer than 100,000 in the fiscal year just ended, by introducing new products and expanding the dealer network. 

Mitsubishi will get help from the Renault-Nissan Alliance, the global cross-ownership arrangement that struggling Mitsubishi was brought into last year when Nissan took a controlling 34 percent stake in its smaller Japanese rival. 

Ghosn promised a V-shaped recovery for Mitsubishi, which had profits plunge last year amid a scandal over faked fuel economy ratings. That crisis opened the door for Ghosn, who was then joint CEO of Nissan and Renault, to orchestrate the Mitsubishi takeover and appoint himself its chairman. 

Its recovery plan has begun by focusing mostly on business in Southeast Asia, where it has deep roots. But going forward, it will concentrate more on the U.S. and China, Ghosn said. Expanding there is key because of the vast size of both markets. 

Ghosn promised results, particularly in China, as early as next year. 

"Without any doubt, for me, the potential of development and growth of Mitsubishi in China is very big, and hopefully you will see it immediately, not five years down the road. You're going to see it next year and the year following," Ghosn said. 

Neither Ghosn nor Masuko offered details about what lineup holes Mitsubishi needs to plug. But Masuko said electrified vehicles and crossovers will be the focus going ahead, and Ghosn said the alliance intends to commonize EV components to maximize cost and r&d efficiency.


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