Nissan has now become the largest shareholder in the Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) and seems like Carlos Ghosn is a man on mission to resurrect the Japanese brand globally – India will benefit from the same
Making alliances, sharing technologies and more importantly, engines and platforms is the way now to thrive in the global auto biz. The best example would be the Franco-Japanese Renault-Nissan strategic merger, an alliance that just keeps on surpassing new boundaries year after year. Mitsubishi is the new member of this conglomerate – amidst of the Mitsubishi’s emission scandals, Nissan declared that it has bought 34 per cent equity stake in Mitsubishi for 237 billion yen a few days ago.
How will it affect Mitsubishi in India? That is what we will figure out in this article. Mitsubishi in India has a very patchy history. The automaker entered the market in the late 90’s with the Lancer which went on to become its bread and butter product for years. The next generation Lancer or the Cedia as it was popularly called did not do as well as expected despite having a very good engine and handling package and good looks. Besides the Lancer, it is only the Pajero-range which has still survived in the country from Mitsubishi.
The Outlander despite being a very potent product did not do well since it lacked a diesel option. The Japanese automaker has tied up with Hindustan Motor since its inception, but sadly enough the manufacturer did not support the Japanese carmaker much apart from providing it with a plant for assembling vehicles. But the situation might turn around with Nissan roping in since the automaker has fairly decent operations in the country relatively to Mitsubishi’s.
What could possibly work for Mitsubishi’s favour in India
The Renault-Nissan alliance’s Chennai plant was the alliance's first joint facility in the world and is capable of the producing Renault and Nissan vehicles in the same line. The plant has a production capacity of 400,000 units annually and was opened in March 2010.
Now, Nissan and Mitsubishi have agreed to cooperate in areas including common vehicle platforms, technology-sharing, and joint plant utilisation. It is very obvious that the two including Nissan’s French partner – Renault will share platforms, engines and tech with each other. So, don't be surprised to see Mitsubishi's future vehicles being produced at the Renault-Nissan first joint plant in Chennai instead of using defunct Hindustan Motors' facility! This will in in-turn help Mitsubishi to launch more products in the country besides the Pajero Sport in near future.
Downsized turbo petrol engines and 1.5-litre dCi for Mitsubishi
Renault-Nissan haven’t launched downsized turbocharged petrol motors in the country, which are presently offered in other markets. However, the Indian market is now already charged up for these type of motors with examples like VW’s 1.2 TSI and Ford’s 1.0-litre EcoBoost or the upcoming 1.0-litre Boosterjet from Suzuki, the alliance might bring them soon. These engines will certainly find their way in the Mitsubishi cars including a Mitsubishi version of Renault-Nissan’s popular 1.5-litre diesel engine.
Onslaught of crossovers
It is pretty obvious that crossovers/compact SUVs will dominate the automobile market worldwide in the imminent future. Their reign has already started. And last year there were reports indicating that Mitsubishi will focus on crossovers and SUVs from henceforth. Furthermore, the Renault-Nissan alliance also has a dominant presence in the crossover market globally. We believe that all three together can rain crossovers in the world market including India.
The Nissan backing in India will also mean a much better backup of service support for Mitsubishi cars in India once they actually start sharing platforms and tech. The joint approach could also mean a resurgence of the brand in India as after sales service is one of the most important factors for any Indian buyer while considering a new car.
All in all, the Mitsubishi acquisition by the Renault-Nissan alliance is a good thing for India and for the world as all three brands bring a plethora of car making knowledge in both the conventional way and in modern eco-friendly ways to the table. Expect a lot of hybrids and smart tech from this automotive conglomerate in the near future.