GENEVA -- Mitsubishi is open to rebadging and selling models from alliance partner Renault in Southeast Asia. It's one way the newest member of the Renault-Nissan alliance could create synergies with its partners, Mitsubishi Chief Operating Officer Trevor Mann told Automotive News Europe.
“Renault is almost non-existent in Southeast Asia,” Mann said at the auto show here this month. “If it made sense for Mitsubishi to cross badge a Renault product in Southeast Asia that could be an interesting discussion.”
Mitsubishi also has a more dominant presence than Nissan in much of Southeast Asia. Mann said the company's strength in places such as Thailand, where it has three factories that have produced more than 3 million vehicles, could be used to help boost Nissan's market share and its bottom line.
For instance, Mann told Reuters the two companies are studying joint production of pickup trucks in Southeast Asia. Mitsubishi, which builds the Triton pickup in Thailand, could supply Nissan with its next-generation Navara pickup. Nissan currently builds the Navara for local sales in Thailand.
“If you look at our cost performance in that region, we are the benchmark within the alliance," Mann said. "Our cost-base on pickups is better than Nissan's."
Mitsubishi's pickup architectures are likely to become the basis for future alliance models, added Mann, who was formerly Nissan's chief performance officer but was dispatched by CEO Carlos Ghosn to help turn around Mitsubishi after Nissan paid $2.3 billion for a 34 percent controlling stake in the scandal-hit company last October.
Mitsubishi's admission that it cheated on fuel-economy ratings for several nameplates sold in Japan opened the door for Nissan to make the move. The two companies expect the deal to lead to combined savings of 49 billion yen ($473.2 million) in the 2017 fiscal year that ends in March 2018.
Reuters contributed to this report