Nissan, Mitsubishi Team Up to Build New Mini Vehicles

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Nissan, Mitsubishi Team Up to Build New Mini Vehicles Nissan Motor (NSANY) and Mitsubishi Motors plan to work together to bring new vehicles to market in an effort to reduce development costs.

The Japanese automakers will establish a 50-50 joint venture with the goal of producing a minicar for the home market by 2012, top executives from both companies said Tuesday.

Nissan also will produce a small van for Mitsubishi, which in turn will make an SUV for Nissan to sell in the Middle East. Nissan said it also considering providing Mitsubishi with higher-end vehicles in Japan, Reuters reported.

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"In the global auto industry, cooperation on specific projects among automakers is becoming increasingly common," Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn (left) said at a news conference in Tokyo with Mitsubishi President Osamu Masuko (right). "It is a signal of how our industry is evolving to sustain success over the long term," Ghosn said.

The plan deepens an already-established relationship between the two companies that will help them make better use of resources amid the recent run-up in the value of the yen. The rise in the Japanese currency relative to the U.S. dollar has made Japanese exports more expensive, which has put pressure on that nation's automakers' profits at a time when its domestic auto sales have fallen.

Ghosn and Masuko both said they weren't considering investments in each other's companies, but would seek other ways to further cooperate.

Nissan and Mitsubishi, Japan's third and sixth largest automakers, respectively, have been working together since 2003, Reuters noted. The partnership has resulted mainly in Mitsubishi producing mini vehicles under the Nissan brand in Japan.

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