Struggling automakers Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi unveiled Wednesday a plan to deepen cooperation in their alliance that would see them develop nearly half of cars jointly by 2025 to cut costs and boost profitability.
All three firms were struggling even before the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused sales to plunge as governments forced citizens to stay at home to slow the spread of the virus.
They have been tied together by a series of cross-shareholdings, but have only integrated their activities to a limited extent.
The plan "is expected to deliver model investment reductions of up to 40 per cent for vehicles fully under the scheme," a joint statement said.
The carmakers will adopt a "leader-follower scheme to enhance efficiency and competitiveness" while also letting one take the lead in each region of the world.
Renault head Jean-Dominique Senard, who also leads their alliance, said the plan will "bring out the most of each company's assets and performing capabilities while building on their respective cultures and legacies."
It will also increase "their respective competitiveness, sustainable profitability and social and environmental responsibility," he added.
The alliance will focus on one model per product segment, which would be developed by the leading company in that particular segment and adapted by the others.
Production could even be grouped together where appropriate, they said.
The carmakers will also focus on their core regions "with the aim to be among the most competitive and to serve as a reference for the others to enhance their competitiveness," said the statement.
Nissan will be the reference for China, North America and Japan; Renault in Europe, Russia, South America and North Africa; and Mitsubishi Motors in ASEAN and Oceania countries.