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Car and Driver: Report: Nissan May Buy a Controlling Stake in Mitsubishi

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Nissan Mitsubishi logos

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You’d think that Mitsubishi’s current fuel-economy cheating scandal would send automakers running for the hills to distance themselves, but the opposite is true for Nissan. A report from Japan’s Nikkei suggests that Nissan Motor may spend around $1.84 billion to buy a 30 percent stake in Mitsubishi and become the company’s top shareholder.

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If this pans out, Nissan would take the reins from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which currently has a 20 percent stake in Mitsubishi Motors. The reasoning behind this decision is more focused on the Asian market than the U.S. market, as Nissan could stand to gain from Mitsubishi’s popularity in countries including Thailand and Indonesia.

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Nissan and Mitsubishi also are already tied up in their home market of Japan, where the two companies operate a joint venture called NMKV to develop and build kei cars including the Mitsubishi eK Wagon and eK Space and the Nissan Dayz and Dayz Roox (pictured below). These four models were also the first to be identified in the recent fuel-economy scandal. The popularity of these diminutive city cars in Japan makes them crucial to any automaker’s success, as Nikkei says they make up around 60 percent of Mitsubishi’s domestic sales and 30 percent of Nissan’s. The two companies had also planned to collaborate on a future all-electric minicar.

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Nissan-Dayz-Roox

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We don’t yet know what implications this partnership could have for the U.S. market, and neither automaker has yet made an official comment on this tie-up. Stay tuned for more news to come as the situation develops—if it develops.

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