"We won't die just because we don't have a partner," is the response of Mitsubishi Motors Corp. President Osamu Masuko to those who say that the company needs a strategic partnership to survive. Earlier this month, Mitsubishi and PSA/Peugeot-Citroen SA announced that they had failed to come to an agreement on terms of a capital alliance.
This news had an impact of pulling down its shares by more than 10% the next day. Masuko is now stating that Mitsubishi, Japan's seventh-biggest carmaker, will be able to recover by operating within its limited means.
However, many analysts say that for Mitsubishi Motors to remain competitive, it will eventually have to link up with a partner to split the cost of developing vehicle technologies.
Masuko explained that an equity tie-up is not the solution, citing the many failed partnership of other carmakers as well as its own merger with the former DaimlerChrysler that ended after nine years. In an interview with Reuters last Friday, Masuko referred to a capital alliance as "no panacea."
He questioned that if forming an alliance is the only solution then why haven't it worked for the company, with General Motors or with Toyota.
He said that the company just needs to make the most of areas that it excels in. Masuko boasted that even if the company is considered small and only expected to sell 960,000 units this month, it is proud of being the first to mass-produce a pure electric car.
Next month, the i-MiEV goes on sale to private buyers in Japan. There will also be a Europe launching before the year ends. Masuko added that Mitsubishi is particularly proud of its top-class all-wheel-drive technology and its plans to lead the development of electric cars with in-wheel motors.
However, he stopped short of saying that the company doesn't need a partner and clarified that it will continue to seek business alliances.