JAPAN: Mitsubishi confirms talks with PSA Peugeot Citroen
Mitsubishi Motors has confirmed it was in tie-up talks with PSA Peugeot Citroen, but the French firm ruled out a share deal and Japanese analysts doubted the negotiations would quickly boost the troubled Japanese car manufacturer's business.
According to Reuters, Mitsubishi Motors said it was studying the possibility of partnerships with the French manufacturer and others to revitalise its business as soon as possible.
"It is true that Mitsubishi Motors is studying the possibility of a business tie-up with PSA Peugeot Citroen," company spokesman Junji Nishihata told the news agency, adding: "(But) there are no concrete details decided at this point."
Reuters noted that media reports at the weekend said that MMC had reached a basic agreement to provide Peugeot with some 40,000 vehicles annually.
PSA Peugeot Citroen in France reportedly said it was in contact with Mitsubishi but had not agreed on any cooperation project.
A company spokesman also told Reuters an exchange of stakes was not on the agenda.
"We are in contact with most international manufacturers as part of our co-operation policy. There are therefore no talks about an equity deal between PSA and other manufacturers," a PSA Peugeot spokesman told the news agency. "We have contact with Mitsubishi as we do with other global car manufacturers."
Reuters said a strategy of providing vehicles to other car makers is expected to form the centrepiece of MMC's revival plan, which will be unveiled by the end of this month, but analysts reportedly say limited production tie-ups would be disappointing.
"MMC certainly needs partners, as they will help raise its under-utilised production capacities, but that won't solve its fundamental problem of a sharp fall in sales," Nomura Securities analyst Shinya Naruse told Reuters, adding: "A production supply agreement of some 40,000 cars a year will hardly bolster the business of a car maker producing 1.3 million cars a year globally."
According to Reuters, the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported on Sunday that MMC had agreed to build the "eK wagon" minivehicle under the Nissan brand, but the two parties had decided to continue talks on a joint venture plan.
Broadcaster NHK reportedly said Mitsubishi Motors would build 30,000 newly developed sport-utility vehicles and 10,000 trucks for Peugeot for sale under its brand.
Last November Peugeot Chairman Jean-Martin Folz told a Japanese newspaper it might expand its line-up by buying cars from MMC on an original equipment manufacturing basis but he denied there was any possibility of making a capital investment in MMC, Reuters noted.