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Nissan takeover could impact FCA

by Bill Cawthon on

What was rumored yesterday is a done deal this morning. Nissan will take a controlling interest in ailing Mitsubishi, paying about $2.2 billion for a 34% stake. The news could have a significant impact on FCA in North America, quite aside from crushing possible partnerships (e.g. to jointly develop the L200 pickup).

Dodge-Attitude-Mexico-Web

One of the most visible targets for change is FCA’s deal to distribute Mitsubishi vehicles in Mexico. With three times the Mexican sales of FCA, Nissan doesn’t need anyone to distribute its cars and trucks.

A second target might be the Dodge Attitude, a rebadged Mitsubishi Mirage. The Attitude is the single best-selling FCA brand vehicle in Mexico, accounting for about 19% of total FCA volume last month. With the Attitude, Mitsubishis claimed nearly 37% of total Mexican sales in April.

Nissan would probably be perfectly happy to have Mitsubishi keep making the Attitude, FCA does not have a vehicle it could quickly slip in as a replacement. The recently announced Dodge Neon is much larger and pricier than the Attitude/Mirage.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for just-auto.com, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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