TOKYO - Nissan Motor Co., Renault SA and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. agreed to set up a new company to jointly develop advanced technologies for next-generation vehicles, as the alliance seeks to bolster their cooperation after its leader Carlos Ghosn was ousted, sources familiar with the mater said Sunday.
Engineers from the three automakers will focus on studying artificial intelligence and other key technologies at the new company, and its operation scale and other details will be announced by the end of January, the sources said.
Nissan and Renault are jointly working on development of platforms and engines and purchasing of parts under the alliance at present.
The three carmakers look to step up joint operations, as the global auto industry faces a rapid shift in customer demand to connected, autonomous, shared and electric vehicles. The shift in business environment requires automakers to boost investment in technology.
The new company is aimed at helping the Franco-Japanese auto group to share hefty development costs and speed up development, as the three partners have launched few new projects since Ghosn was discharged following his arrest in November last year.
Nissan launched a new management team on Sunday led by newly appointed chief executive Makoto Uchida who replaced Hiroto Saikawa after he admitted to receiving overpayment of remuneration.
Under the new leadership, Japan's second-biggest carmaker by volume plans to scale back its low-cost Datsun brand business for emerging markets, people close to the matter said Sunday.
The Yokohama-based company will discontinue production of the inexpensive vehicles in Indonesia and Russia and halt their sales in some markets due to fierce price competition.
Nissan resuscitated the Datsun brand in 2014 as a pillar of a strategy to tap into booming markets under top executive Ghosn at that time.