Nissan announced this morning will take a 34 percent stake in Mitsubishi in a $2.2 billion deal that must be approved by regulators and Mitsubishi shareholders. If all goes according to plan, the two will march down the aisle by the end of the year. This would expand an agreement the two have had for the past five years as they partner in the areas of technology, sharing platforms and purchasing to lower the cost of new product. “This is a breakthrough transaction and a win-win for both Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors,” said Nissan CEO and President Carlos Ghosn. Nissan would become the largest shareholder in Mitsubishi. It has admitted overstating fuel economy in small cars sold in Japan, some of which carried the Nissan label.
A big consolidation may be in the works for the Japanese auto industry according to a Kelly Blue Book expert. Where there are eight auto makers now that number might be reduced to three or four by the year 2021, Karl Brauer, senior director of automotive industry insights, told CNBC’s Asia Squawk Box. Simply stated, the smaller car makers will have a hard time raising capital for research and development as the industry moves more toward alternative powered and driverless cars.
Closing out its fiscal year, Nissan said net profit rose 21 percent and revenue increased 17 percent thanks to an 11 percent sales gain in the U.S. that offset setbacks elsewhere. The figures were strong enough to allow Nissan to raise its full year profit forecast. It wants to raise its market share here from 8.4 to 10 percent.
The Detroit News reports that dealer inventories of small cars grew to its highest level in seven years last month as consumers turned to trucks, crossovers and SUV’s. Ward’s Automotive said small car sales fell more than 6 percent, so you might be able to make a fine deal if you are seeking to buck the trend. Of course, all this could change if the price of gas goes up substantially.
Don’t look for the automaker’s sales bubble to pop any time soon, according to a report from Bank of America Merrill Lynch. In their annual “Car Wars” study they predict automakers will sell a record 20 million new vehicles in 2018, compared to 17.47 million last year with sales slowing to 14 million in 2026. Further, the report predicts that in the near future, the majority of vehicles sold will be trucks and Sport Utility Vehicles. The key to these forecasts is the high number of redesigned vehicles scheduled to hit the market, an average of 58 per year. This will attract more customers to showrooms and “Car Wars” said the big winners will be GM, Ford, Fiat Chrysler and Honda.