Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) has announced that Nissan has become its largest shareholder following the completion of the purchase of a 34% stake in MMC for 237 billion yen. It was also announced that the brand will join the 17-year strong Nissan-Renault Alliance as a full member, paving the way for future growth. The assimilation of MMC into the fold now makes the alliance the world’s third-largest automotive group.

Nissan chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn has been nominated to become Mitsubishi chairman. The move will put him in charge of three automakers at the same time (he is also currently the CEO of Renault). He will be joined by three other Nissan nominated directors, including Mitsuhiko Yamashita, Nissan’s former executive vice president of research and development, who joined MMC earlier this year as head of development.

The other nominees are Hitoshi Kawaguchi, Nissan chief sustainability officer and head of global external affairs, and Hiroshi Karube, Nissan global controller and global asset manager.

Mitsubishi Motor’s president and CEO Osamu Masuko also requested that Nissan also provide a senior executive to join the company’s executive committee to bolster MMC’s management. Trevor Mann, currently chief performance officer of Nissan, will become the COO of MMC.

carlos ghosn

The three largest institutional shareholders in MMC (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Mitsubishi Corporation and The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ) have welcomed Nissan’s investment, and have pledged their support for its board nominees.

In addition to these new postings, MMC will appoint a new role of director for global risk control to report directly to the CEO, who will oversee compliance and risk control. This director will regularly report to the board on moves to enhance governance at the company.

The announcement of the controlling stake purchase also saw the mention of Nissan and MMC cooperating on a wide-ranging synergy of programmes, with a five-year alliance in minicar development between the two companies heading the list. Elsewhere, the companies will explore joint purchasing in a bid to reduce costs as well as look into aspects of joint plant localisation, common vehicle platforms and technology sharing.

In April this year, Mitsubishi admitted to manipulating fuel economy tests on certain vehicles it sold, resulting in the resignation of president Tetsuro Aikawa. The crisis eventually lead to Nissan swooping in to purchase the said stake in the company.