On April 21, 2016, Osamu Masuko, CEO of Mitsubishi Motors, came to me to ask for Nissan Motor's support in reviving his company in the aftermath of its fuel-efficiency scandal. Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors were already partners on kei minivehicle development, so I knew the company well. It was clear that forming an alliance made strategic and financial sense for both of our companies. And coming from Nissan, which had known its own challenges, we knew that Mitsubishi Motors deserved a second chance.
We announced our plans for the deal in May, and it was completed on Oct. 20. Nissan became Mitsubishi Motors' largest shareholder, and Mitsubishi Motors became a member of the Renault-Nissan Alliance. With this enlarged alliance, our sales are now at 10 million vehicles per year, putting us among the top three automotive groups worldwide. This scale gives us an advantage over most other automakers, and a disadvantage to none.