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October 28, 2004

JAPAN: Nissan denies minivehicle JV plan with Mitsubishi

Nissan Motor on Thursday rejected a report that it would jointly develop and manufacture mini vehicles with scandal-hit automaker Mitsubishi Motors as "pure speculation."

By bcusack

Nissan Motor on Thursday rejected a report that it would jointly develop and manufacture mini vehicles with scandal-hit automaker Mitsubishi Motors as “pure speculation.”

According to Agence France-Presse (AFP), public broadcaster NHK said earlier Mitsubishi was considering forming in April next year a 50-50 joint venture with Nissan to develop mini vehicles.

The two automakers were also in talks to produce mini vehicles under Nissan’s brand name at Mitsubishi’s Mizushima plant in Okayama Prefecture in western Japan, NHK reportedly said, quoting sources involved in the talks.

Nissan told AFP it had been selling the Clipper mini commercial vehicle supplied on an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) basis by Mitsubishi since October 2003 but denied the report.

“Any reports on the future status of our relationship with Mitsubishi are pure speculation,” Nissan said in a statement.

Mitsubishi said it had been supplying mini vehicles to Nissan but declined to comment further.

AFP said NHK reported Nissan and Mitsubishi were also considering shifting a total of 4,500 employees to the new joint company to manufacture mini vehicles in the future.

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