Car Industry

It's on like Donkey Kong: Nissan buys up controlling stake in Mitsubishi Motors

But don't think that Nissan is going to be forced to fix Mitsubishi's fuel-economy problems.

YOKOHAMA and TOKYO, Japan (May 12, 2016) – Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., and Mitsubishi Motors Corporation announced that they have signed a Basic Agreement today to form a far-reaching strategic alliance between the two Japanese automakers.

Well, that was fast. Yesterday, I wrote about Nissan potentially buying up a good chunk of Mitsubishi Motors, and Nissan declined to comment. Not even 24 hours after the news cycle picked up the rumor, it was made official -- Nissan now controls Mitsubishi Motors.

Nissan is spending 237 billion yen ($2.2 billion or so) to capture 34 percent of Mitsubishi Motors. Thus, Nissan becomes the single largest shareholder in the company, ahead of both Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Mitsubishi Corporation. It's unclear whether or not Nissan will want to be referred to as "Daddy" going forward.

Mitsubishi and Nissan have already been partners over the last five years, and this alliance will deepen those ties. A statement from Nissan says that the two companies will "cooperate in areas including purchasing, common vehicle platforms, technology-sharing, joint plant utilization and growth markets."

When it comes to Mitsubishi's latest scandal, wherein it admitted to lying about fuel-economy testing procedures on some or all of its Japanese vehicles, Nissan isn't going to be cleaning that up. "We will support MMC as they address their challenges," said Carlos Ghosn, Nissan's CEO.

But the whole partnering-up is not yet set in stone. The transaction requires a shareholders agreement, among other things. Everything should be signed and sealed by the end of the year, at which point Nissan will appoint directors to Mitsubishi Motors' board. Mazel tov!