The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance is accumulating $200 million in a new mobility tech fund, three sources stated, in the recent move by significant automakers to adapt to quick industry change by investing in startups through their own equity capital arms.
The fund, due to be revealed by CEO Carlos Ghosn at the CES tech industry show in Las Vegas next week, will be 40 percent funded by Renault, 40 percent by Nissan and 20 percent by Mitsubishi.
“It will permit us to move quicker on acquisitions ahead of our competition,” among the alliance sources informed Reuters.
Frederique Le Greves, a spokesperson for the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, refused to comment.
The standard auto industry model based upon individual ownership is threatened by pay-per-use services such as Uber, in addition to ride- and car-sharing platforms, a challenge heightened by parallel shifts towards electrified and self-driving vehicles.
Cautious automakers are having a hard time to welcome changes and technologies that some of their executives are just beginning to understand. To speed up the process, many are investing directly in the new services – and getting access to intellectual property – by means of their own corporate venture capital (CVC) funds.
BMW has bought stakes in a wide variety of ride-sharing, smart-charging and autonomous vehicle software companies through its 500 million euro ($600 million) iVentures fund, the biggest such internal facility belonging to an automaker.
The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi venture will likewise prevent the current need to thrash out the ownership split for each new alliance acquisition.
It represents an additional step in the integration of the automakers as they pursue 10 billion euros in yearly synergies by 2022. France’s Renault has a 43.4 percent stake in Nissan, which in turn controls Mitsubishi. Carlos Ghosn is the boss of Renault and chairs all three.