MITSUBISHI’S president will step down as the carmaker’s growing fuel use scandal and a bold takeover bid from rival brand Nissan sweeps the company.
Nikkei Asian Review reported overnight that Tetsuro Aikawa, who took over the role of president of the Japanese carmaker in April 2014, would stand aside from his role next month, with his position filled temporarily by Mitsubishi board chairman Osamu Masuko until a replacement was found.
The scandal broke after Nissan flagged that several of the small city cars it sold on the Japanese market had understated their official fuel use ratings. As it turned out, those cars had been built by Mitsubishi for Nissan.
Mitsubishi’s share price halved in the wake of the revelations, opening the door for Nissan to swoop in and take a controlling 34 percent stake in its rival.
Mitsubishi is expected to today present to the Japanese government the findings of its own internal investigation into how the fudged fuel use figures were applied to the cars.
Nikkei Asian Review said that Aikawa had risen to his present role with the carmaker after heading up its product development unit, which has been flagged as the potential source of the incorrect figures.
Nissan will use a June 24 shareholder meeting to appoint one of its own directors to head up Mitsubishi’s product development unit, the Review said.
Mitsubishi’s president would also be replaced with a Nissan director, it said.
Nissan's interest in Mitsubishi is believed to be tied to its petrol-electric hybrid engine technology.
Nissan has also flagged there is a possibility that the two carmakers could use a single platform to underpin the Nissan Navara and Mitsubishi Triton trade utes, helping to build economy of scale in one of the strongest-performing segments of the new-car market.