April 25, 2017 / 6:46 AM / 3 months ago

Ghosn wants Mitsubishi to reform, rules out Nissan merger

Workers are seen while assembling a Mitsubishi Pajero at the Mitsubishi car factory in Bekasi, West Java province, Indonesia April 25, 2017.Beawiharta

BEKASI, Indonesia (Reuters) - A full merger of Japanese car makers Mitsubishi Motors Corp (MMC) (7211.T) and Nissan Motor Co Ltd (7201.T) is not on the table, Carlos Ghosn, chairman of both firms, said on Tuesday.

"Full merger is not on the table. We want Mitsubishi to reform itself," said Ghosn, who was attending the opening ceremony of a new Mitsubishi factory on the outskirts of Jakarta.

He also said it was likely for Mitsubishi and Nissan to cross-manufacture in areas where it makes sense.

Last year, Nissan bought a controlling stake in Mitsubishi for $2.3 billion after the smaller automaker admitted to cheating on mileage tests.

Mitsubishi and Nissan were studying joint production of pickup trucks in Southeast Asia as they looked for savings within the broader Renault-Nissan alliance, Mitsubishi's chief operating officer told Reuters in March.

Chairman of Japanese car makers Mitsubishi Motors Corp (MMC) and Nissan Motor Co Ltd Carlos Ghosn (L) and Mitsubishi CEO Osamu Masuko talk to reporters during a news confrence at the Mitsubishi car factory in Bekasi, West Java province, Indonesia April 25, 2017.Beawiharta

Ghosn is also chairman of Renault.

Meanwhile, Mitsubishi Chief Executive Officer Osamu Masuko said he estimated Mitsubishi would have a 10 percent share of Indonesia's car market in three years, from 6 percent at present.

Slideshow (2 Images)

This year, he said he expected a nearly 40 percent sales increase in Indonesia, helped by sales of multi-purpose vehicles.

Indonesia overtook Thailand as Southeast Asia's largest car market in recent years and is also growing as a regional production base.

Nearly 1.1 million vehicles were sold in the country of 250 million people last year, according to the Association of Indonesia Automotive Industries (Gaikindo).

Japan's Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) has long dominated the Indonesian market, partly due to its extensive distribution network. Toyota has a long-standing partnership with the country's largest distributor, PT Astra International Tbk (ASII.JK).

Reporting by Eveline Danubrata; Writing by Fransiska Nangoy; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Christopher Cushing

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