Nissan, Datsun, Infiniti, Mitsubishi, Automotive trends, Auto industry trends, Automotive market research, Automotive market analysis, auto industry news

Nissan is a Japanese OEM that sells cars and light commercial vehicles under the Nissan, Infiniti and Datsun brands. Nissan is also the controlling shareholder in Mitsubishi Motors and has a cross-shareholding with Renault.  This page contains research on Nissan and Mitsubishi's activities and strategy.

Automotive trends, Auto industry trends, Automotive market research, Automotive market analysis, auto industry news

2020

April

  • APB Corporation licenced Nissan’s battery technology for use in stationary storage applications. (Autocar)
  • Nissan’s forthcoming recovery plan will reportedly replace a long-standing sales target of around 6 - 7 million vehicles annually with a lower figure of around 5 million. (Reuters)
  • Nissan is apparently asking banks for a $4.6 billion increase in its credit line. (Reuters)

March

  • Mitsubishi could reportedly take a stake in Renault as part of a bid to strengthen the alliance. (Reuters)
  • Plans to close the Purwakarta, Indonesia factory as part of a global recovery effort. Nissan will probably re-badge vehicles built at Mitsubishi’s nearby plants to maintain a market presence. Insiders hinted that production cuts in Russia are next on the list. (Manichi)
  • Nissan and Mitsubishi are reportedly planning to stop contributions (previously set at up to $200 million per year) to the Alliance Ventures investment vehicle. (Reuters)
  • Nissan’s Russian factory will go to a one shift pattern (from two today) until the market has recovered. The company said the move was unrelated to coronavirus. (TASS)

February

  • Nissan’s new CEO pleaded with shareholders to be given more time to come up with a coherent recovery plan and said he would happily be fired if he fails. (Reuters)
  • Trialling a short-term leasing scheme called “Switch” in Houston, USA. (Nissan)
  • Moving to quarterly sales reporting in the US, following the lead of GM, Ford and FCA. (Nissan)
  • A UK consortium headed by Nissan completed a 230 mile “self-navigated” trip on public roads. (Nissan)

January

  • Rumoured to be planning further spending cuts (on top of the summer 2109 turnaround plan) by cutting 4,300 salaried staff globally (g. some US sales and marketing offices) and closing two (unidentified) factories. The global line-up will be pared to 62 models, but average aim will be reduced to 2.5 years (from 5 today). (Reuters)
  • Reportedly prepared a plan for a hard Brexit that would see Nissan plants on mainland Europe closed and an attempt to capitalise on the lack of homegrown UK production by taking market share from competitors who would be subject to higher tariffs than Nissan (~3% vs 10% of material cost). (FT)
  • Will prioritise the Nissan brand in India (over Datsun), including for designed / made in India products, calling into question Datsun’s market positioning. (Autocar)
  • Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi announced a series of measures to deepen integration. Nissan will lead engineering on models for China; Mitsubishi for Southeast Asia and Renault in Europe. Engineering of components will also be shared out, although no details were given. The three brands also plan to pool their collective fleet average CO2 in Europe, starting in 2020. (Mitsubishi)
  • Said the diesel engines subject to investigation by German authorities for emissions cheating were supplied by PSA and denied the existence of any defeat devices. (Mitsubishi)
  • Carlos Ghosn reportedly predicted that Nissan would go bust by 2022, according to someone who interviewed him for a book (before he became a world-renowned escape artist). (Bloomberg)
  • German regulators are investigating whether Mitsubishi diesel engines contained defeat devices. (Reuters)
  • Nissan and Renault’s top engineering executives are planning a feelgood session to reignite shared projects (Reuters) or, Nissan is angling for a sell-down of the cross-shareholding. (Bloomberg) You decide.
  • Revealed that 10,000 hours has been spent investigating compensation and other payments stemming from Carlos Ghosn’s ouster, with several others found to have benefitted (but kept anonymous). Amongst actions Nissan is taking to improve corporate governance, the practice of retaining former senior executives as consultants will be ended, meaning that outgoing CEO Saikawa will leave the company for good when he steps down. (Bloomberg)
  • Nissan is reportedly making contingency plans to go it alone in engineering and manufacturing in the eventuality of a complete split with Renault. (FT)
  • After Carlos Ghosn held a press conference accusing Nissan executives and unnamed Japanese government officials of orchestrating his downfall, his former Nissan colleagues said the claims were predictable. Ghosn said that the root of the issue was the need to find a scapegoat for Nissan’s performance, and moves by the French state to deny Nissan what the Japanese company saw as a fair say in Renault’s governance. Ghosn also said that he had been about to retire before the board persuaded him otherwise and now wishes he hadn’t listened. (Bloomberg) / (CNBC)
  • Nissan’s number three executive resigned to take up a post at supplier Nidec. (Reuters)
  • Mitsubishi has reportedly decided not to design any new diesel engines, although it will continue development of existing architectures. (Nikkei)
  • Ex-CEO Ghosn fled pre-trial detention in Japan, saying things were taking too long and offering to give his side of the story. Journalists were more interested in how he escaped. (Nikkei)

2019

Q4 & FY 2019 Results

  • Mitsubishi’s Q4 2019 revenue (fiscal Q3) of 1.67 trillion yen (about $15.3 billion), down (7)% versus the same period in 2018. Operating profit of 3.6 billion yen (about $33 million) fell (96)% from prior year. (Mitsubishi)
  • Nissan reported Q4 2019 (fiscal Q3) revenue of 2.504 trillion JPY (about $22.8 billion) fell (18)% from the same period in 2018. Ordinary income was 37 billion JPY (about $337 million) but there was a net loss of (22) billion JPY (about $(200) million). The forecast for full year operating income was slashed. (Nissan)

December

  • Japan’s market watchdog recommended that Nissan be fined $22 million for under-reporting Carlos Ghosn’s compensation. (Nissan)
  • Nissan told US office staff not to turn up for work at the start of 2020, hoping to cut costs. (Detroit News)
  • Nissan’s recently departed CEO says the company discounted the Leaf too heavily to meet aggressive sales targets and this damaged the brand. (FT)
  • Nissan’s limited edition GT-R50 is going into production soon - and you can still order one. (ItalDesign)
  • Although Nissan will be introducing some plug-in hybrids in Europe, executives say the firm views the technology as a stopgap until battery electric cars fall in price. (Auto Express)
  • Appointed Renault’s Hadi Zablit as the general secretary for the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance. (Renault)
  • Nissan and Renault both want to concentrate on improving their financial performance before returning to the subject of the correct capital structure for the alliance. (FT)

November

  • The head honchos of Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi thrashed out a new organisation structure that will see combined activities led by a General Secretary (yet to be appointed). (Nissan)
  • Automating a several factory jobs that have traditionally required extensive training or put physical strain on employees such as headliner and powertrain installation on assembly, plus sealant application in the paint shop. Nissan says it has developed special ways to make minute adjustments and detect clips locking in place. (Nissan)
  • Nissan announced a series of executive changes. (Nissan)
  • Nissan is recalling almost 400,000 cars to fix problems with the braking. (The Guardian)

October

  • Nissan announced a series of executive changes, including a new CFO. (Nissan) Mitsubishi did too. (Mitsubishi)
  • Despite previously announced plans to expand Datsun’s portfolio, Nissan reportedly now intends to stop development of new products and drop the brand when current cars’ lifecycle ends. (Autocar)
  • Nissan showed two concepts in Tokyo, both all-electric: Ariya, an SUV; and IMk, a small people carrier. (Nissan)
  • Mitsubishi also showed two concepts in Tokyo: an electric dune buggy called Mi-Tech and a preview of the next generation of Japanese market kei cars. (Mitsubishi)
  • Reportedly open to offers for factories in Barcelona, Spain and Sunderland, UK as part of a bid to slim down Nissan’s footprint in Europe. (Bloomberg)
  • Announced that Makoto Uchida, the head of Nissan’s operations in China, as the new CEO with Mitsubishi’s COO, Ashwani Gupta, taking the same role at Nissan. Jun Seki, seen as one of two frontrunners was given a new role as deputy COO, the fate of current interim CEO Yasuhiro Yamauchi is unclear. All the changes will be effective from 1st January 2020. (Nissan)
  • Said that a no deal Brexit, with accompanying tariffs on finished vehicles sent between continental Europe and the UK would potentially render the entire European business “unsustainable”. (BBC)
  • Ending the night shift at the Sunderland, UK, plant but beefing up the line rate so that the factory’s output and workforce will remain the same. (BBC)
  • Nissan has started using an automated process for metal forming that uses two robots applying pressure to a panel from each side, rather than using conventional press tools, essentially recreating artisanal techniques. Nissan says it will use the technology for aftermarket body kits and to produce spare parts for very old cars. (Nissan)
  • Reportedly considering moving production of the Juke and Qashqai out of the Sunderland, UK, plant in the event of a no deal Brexit. Nissan refused to confirm or deny the rumours. (Detroit Free Press)
  • Despite persistent rumours of Nissan pulling out of South Korea, the firm says it will continue there. (Korea Herald)
  • Nissan unveiled the IMk, a concept small MPV that the brand says uses an all-new electric vehicle platform. The vehicle shows Nissan’s interpretation of a near-buttonless cabin. (Nissan)
  • Nissan’s board has reportedly been conducting an analysis of the leadership qualities possessed by the shortlisted candidates for the CEO role and found that the acting CEO is favoured by the old guard whilst the recent head of Nissan’s China operations is better liked by younger managers and is seen as more likely to be revolutionary. (Reuters)

Q3 2019 (Q2 Fiscal Year 2019/20) Financial Results

  • Mitsubishi reported Q3 2019 (fiscal year Q2) revenue of 592 billion JPY (about $5.4 billion), down (3)% on a year-over-year basis and operating profit of 6.4 billion JPY (about $59 million), down (78)%. Mitsubishi reduced full year profit guidance. (Mitsubishi)
  • Nissan reported financial results for Q3 2019 (fiscal year Q2). Revenue of 2.6 trillion JPY (about $26 billion) fell (6.6)% on a year-over-year basis, while operating profit of 30 billion JPY (about $280 million) fell (70.4)% YoY. Nissan slashed the full year outlook: revenue forecast is (6)% lower and operating profit is (35)% worse. (Nissan)

September

  • Recalling 1.23 million vehicles to fix a problem with the reversing camera. (CNN)
  • There are reportedly three candidates in the running to become Nissan’s next CEO, one of whom comes from outside the automotive industry. (WSJ)
  • Nissan expanded an existing relationship with utility company EDF that offered electric vehicle charging and payment services to UK customers. The collaboration will now include France, Belgium and Italy too. (Nissan)
  • Reportedly in talks to sell its spare parts distribution business, with a figure of $1 billion mentioned. (Reuters)
  • Agreed to pay the SEC $15 million to settle charges of misstating director earnings. (Nissan) Carlos Ghosn also settled, paying $1 million for his role in the debacle, and agreeing to a 10 year ban on US directorships. (Sky News)
  • Nissan unveiled the next generation Juke B-sized crossover. (Nissan)
  • After an audit that revealed several Nissan executives, including CEO Saikawa had received inflated compensation, which Saikawa admitted to reporters several days before Nissan published the findings, Saikawa resigned, effective 16th September, the COO will become interim CEO. (Nissan)
  • Nissan reportedly has a list of 10 candidates to succeed outgoing CEO Saikawa. (Reuters)
  • Reportedly planning to pull out of South Korea amid dwindling sales due to heavy competition and consumer boycotts of Japanese products. (Korea Herald)
  • Alliance Ventures invested in design outsourcing company Superside (TechCrunch) and Sanity.io. (Sanity)
  • Nissan’s US operations suffered five days of disruption to IT systems, affecting everything from new car ordering to customers attempting to make monthly payments. (Automotive Logistics)

August

  • Renault and Nissan are reportedly making progress in discussions that will see Renault reduce its Nissan stake in return for the latter’s approval to a tie up with FCA. (Il Sole 24 Ore)

July

  • According to leaked emails, Nissan and Renault are in the middle of intense negotiations to see whether Nissan would approve the proposed FCA / Renault merger if the French company reduced its current 43.4% stake in Nissan. (WSJ)
  • Showed off a new version of the Skyline. (Nissan)
  • Renault’s chairman said the alliance with Nissan was back on track, there were no plans to restart merger talks with FCA and that no one talks about Carlos Ghosn anymore. (AP)
  • Mitsubishi will invest in ride hailing firm GoJek (the Mitsubishi trading company had already been announced as an investor but this is the first time the motor company has come on board). (Mitsubishi)
  • Nissan and Mitsubishi merged their Japanese finished vehicle logistics operations. (Mitsubishi)
  • Alliance Ventures invested in Maniv Mobility’s new $100 million fund. (Economic Times of India)
  • Renault and Nissan might stop publishing their customary annual cost saving declaration. (Reuters)

June

  • Nissan’s CEO said he was postponing talks on further integration between alliance partners, preferring to focus on his firm’s financial recovery, warning the alliance could break apart “quickly” if Nissan wasn’t happy. (Reuters)
  • The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance VC unit invested in The Mobility House, a company that uses batteries from electric cars to provide storage for power grids. (Renault)
  • Mitsubishi is moving US headquarters from California to Tennessee. (Mitsubishi)
  • Announced plans to add Renault’s chairman and CEO to two of the new oversight committees. (Nissan)
  • Renault and Nissan signed an “exclusive” deal with Waymo for mobility services in France and Japan. (Renault)
  • Nissan is being sued by its partner in a Middle East distribution joint venture, who claims that Nissan didn’t maintain the level of exclusivity it had initially promised. (WSJ)
  • Appeared to back down from an earlier stance that Renault executives shouldn’t be on the new oversight committees Nissan intends to establish. (Les Echos)
  • Off-the-record sources said new Renault chairman Senard has decided that the CEOs of both Renault and Nissan are “irritants” impeding good relationships between the alliance partners. (Reuters)
  • Renault complained that it was under-represented in Nissan’s new corporate governance plan, but didn’t object to the new framework, threatening to abstain from any shareholder vote (and effectively block the move). Nissan called the stance “regrettable”. (Nissan)
  • Nissan could refuse to support any revamped merger proposal between FCA and Renault unless the latter sells some of its Nissan stake. (Reuters)

May

  • Nissan will dock the CEO’s pay by 50% because of his role in the Ghosn scandal. (Nissan)
  • Nissan’s CEO said the firm wasn’t opposed to FCA’s proposed merger with Renault. (Nissan)
  • The Infiniti brand’s will move from Hong Kong to Japan as part of cost-cutting measures. (Nissan)
  • FCA says that if the proposed merger with Renault went ahead, Nissan and Mitsubishi would save €1 billion per year on top of current alliance plans. (FCA)
  • Mitsubishi will reportedly change the sizes of SUVs in the next generation to create a gap of around 200mm between the overall lengths of different models. (Autocar)
  • Nissan reportedly wants to take a 25% stake in a Chinese electric car brand and has shortlisted WM Motor, Zhejiang Hozon and CHJ Automotive. (Deal Street Asia)
  • Said that lidar need further work to be worthwhile, given the relative costs and capabilities of radar and cameras. Unlike Tesla, Nissan appeared to leave the door open for application in future, and has made less extravagant promises about when the technology will be commercially available. (Reuters)
  • Announced a plan for Renault’s CEO to join the Nissan board, whilst current CEO Saikawa stays in charge of Nissan, despite indicating he might be ready to stand down. (Nissan)
  • Standard & Poor’s said Nissan had a negative credit rating outlook. (The Mainichi)
  • Mitsubishi’s current CEO Osamu Masuko will become chairman and Takao Kato will take over as CEO. (Mitsubishi)
  • Outgoing CEO Masuko says he will remain in charge of alliance discussions with Renault and Nissan. (Japan Times)
  • Will debut hands-off highway driving on the forthcoming Skyline. (Nissan)
  • The Alliance Ventures VC unit is partnering with Plug and Play China to reach start-ups in the country. (Renault)
  • Will cut 600 jobs at the Barcelona factory. (Economic Times of India)
  • The head of the Infiniti brand left to join FCA. (Nissan)
  • Will re-organise the board structure. (Mitsubishi)

April

  • Announced a series of senior executive changes. (Nissan)
  • Reportedly continuing to rebuff Renault’s attempts to engineer a full merger, or something that looks very similar to it, on the grounds that Renault would have the upper hand. (Reuters)
  • Vehemently denied newspaper reports that the 2019/20 fiscal year plan will reduce production by (15)%. (Nissan)
  • Suing Carlos Ghosn, alleging that he made payments to distributors that were actually going to him. (Nissan)
  • Will build the next generation Navara pick-up truck at the Rosslyn, South Africa, plant. (Nissan)
  • Carlos Ghosn was rearrested and will be held in detention until at least April 14th. (Reuters)

Q1 2019 (FY Fiscal Year 2018/19) Financial Results

  • After denying newspaper reports of an output cut for the remainder of 2019, Nissan released a profit warning for the fiscal year ended March 2019. Although this was mainly blamed on increased operating expenses, the statement alluded to sales headwinds resulting from the Ghosn scandal. (Nissan)
  • Mitsubishi produced 1,441,227 vehicles in the fiscal year ended March 2019, 13% up on prior year. (Mitsubishi)
  • Mitsubishi reported financial results for the full fiscal year to March 2019. Revenue of 2.5 trillion JPY (about $22 billion) and operating profit was 119.9 billion JPY (about $1.1 billion). Although Mitsubishi expects revenue to increase in the next year, profit is forecast to decline. (Mitsubishi)
  • Nissan reported earnings for the fiscal year ended March 2019. Revenue of 11.6 trillion JPY (about $105 billion) dropped (3.2)% on a year-over-year basis whilst operating profit of 318 billion JPY (about $2.9 billion) fell (44.6)% YoY. Nissan believes that in the next fiscal year sales will rise slightly but revenue and operating profit will both be worse. (Nissan)

March

  • Completed the sale of Nissan’s battery business to Envision. (Nissan)
  • Nissan has a reworked approach for determining compensation for directors and executives. (Nissan)
  • Renault reportedly wants to give Nissan a short post-Ghosn cooling off period and then resume talks on a full merger within the next 12 months, so that after that the combined entity can take on FCA. (Reuters) Nissan’s CEO said that he doesn’t know anything about it. (Reuters)
  • Released a report into the Ghosn scandal, saying he had become too powerful. Nissan’s CEO was exonerated by findings that he had been tricked into signing documents, and that Ghosn never really stopped being CEO anyway until his arrest. (Nissan)
  • Denied reports that internal mid-term Nissan targets for Chinese market sales were downgraded by 8%. (Reuters)
  • Nissan announced a number of senior executive moves effective 1st (Nissan)
  • The Infiniti brand will no longer be sold in Western Europe after 2020 and production of vehicles in Sunderland will also cease as the company focuses on electric vehicles in China and North America. The cost of investing in technology to meet EU CO2 regulations for 2020 and beyond was a key reason for the move. (The Guardian)
  • Mitsubishi announced a series of executive moves effective 1st April, including a new COO. (Mitsubishi)
  • Nissan and Mitsubishi launched four new kei cars (two each). (Mitsubishi)
  • Nissan is testing invisible-to-visible (I2V) technology that the company claims can create 3D images of objects, people or even cartoon characters in a vehicle cabin. (Nissan)
  • Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi published an MoU for their new governance structure. Although the existing joint operating companies will not be dissolved, they will become vassals of a new supreme council made up of CEOs from each OEM, plus Renault’s chairman. As part of the deal, Renault appear to have accepted a demotion: Renault’s chairman will be a “natural candidate” to become vice chairman of Nissan. (Nissan)
  • Nissan CEO Saikawa reportedly told employees he intends to stay in role for another three years, seemingly contradicting earlier comments that he would be headed for the exist much sooner. (Bloomberg)
  • Nissan said stories about a plan to reduce production of Qashqai and Leaf in Sunderland by going from three shifts to two were rumours, but didn’t issue an outright denial. (Sky News)
  • Mitsubishi unveiled the Engelberg Tourer SUV and suggested that the car can be used as a back-up generator if the customer adopts the firm’s Dendo house concept for connecting the car to the home grid. Previous concepts of this nature have centred on battery electric vehicles, thus haven’t been able to explore this idea before. (Mitsubishi)
  • Announced that the e-Power range of motor-as-generator vehicles will launch in Europe by 2022. Concepts shown by Nissan at Geneva hint that the Qashqai and X-Trail will both receive the powertrain. (Nissan)
  • Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi are discussing a new governance structure that would oversee joint projects, in a way that would not require a change to the shareholding structure. (Renautlt)
  • Carlos Ghosn was granted bail but wasn’t allowed to attend a Nissan board meeting. (BBC)

February

  • Allegedly under investigation for being part of a cartel fixing prices for spare parts in Europe. (Automotive News)
  • Says that a new JV plant in Algeria will cost $160 million, with operations to begin by 2021. (Nissan)
  • Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi’s VC unit invested in PowerShare, a Chinese company that coordinates transactions between EV owners and different charging networks. (RNM Alliance)
  • Rumours continue to swirl about how Nissan will structure the role of chairman. Some of the more convoluted ideas appear to make sense only in the context of preventing Renault from controlling the role. (ReutersNominated Renault’s new chairman as a director but stopped short of recommending him as chairman. (Nissan)
  • Renault Nissan Mitsubishi is rumoured to be in talks with Waymo to use the latter’s self-driving system. (Nikkei)
  • Started production of the Qashqai in St Petersburg, Russia. (Nissan)

January

  • Mitsubishi teased an electrified SUV concept n