Volvo buys into Nissan

Nissan Motor said on Tuesday it will sell 13 percent out of its 19 percent shareholding in Nissan Diesel Motor to Sweden's Volvo for 1.5 billion kronor (195 million dollars).

In addition to the immediate sale, Volvo has an option to buy the remaining six percent share of the truck maker from Nissan within the next four years, said the Japanese and Swedish automakers in separate statements.

The deal was signed Tuesday in Tokyo between Nissan President Carlos Ghosn and Volvo President Leif Johansson.

Ghosn told a press conference that the Nissan group has successfully revitalized the once highly-indebted truckmaker.

“We think now Nissan Diesel needs to go more on the offensive. I don’t think this can be done only by Nissan Diesel. Nissan Diesel has to join a much larger entity, which has a good experience of multi-brands management,” he said.

“It is not only about Volvo. It is also about Renault truck brand, it’s also about Mack truck brand and Nissan Diesel brand that all these companies will be working together, developing synergies, benefiting from the same technology in order to continue to grow,” he said.

“Volvo is the right partner at the right time for Nissan Diesel.”

Volvo said the deal would beef up Volvo’s Asian strategy by providing the company with access to Nissan Diesel’s dealer and service network in Japan and Southeast Asia.

The transaction will “create a possibility for further industrial cooperation with Nissan Diesel in such areas as engines and transmissions,” Volvo said in a statement.

Volvo has also bought French automaker Renault’s heavy vehicle division in 2001. Renault controls 44 percent of Nissan and 20 percent of Volvo.

“Nissan Diesel has undergone a major and positive change in recent years and is today one of Asia’s leading manufacturers of trucks,” Johansson said.

“Nissan Diesel’s and the Volvo Group’s products and geographical coverage complement one another and this transaction opens possibilities for cooperation within production, sales and aftermarket.”

Ghosn, who is credited with rescuing Nissan from near bankruptcy after taking over in 1999, became chief executive officer of Renault in April while remaining Nissan’s president and chief executive.

Japan’s second largest automaker does not want to keep primary control over a heavy vehicle maker as revenue in the sector is extremely volatile, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun said in an earlier report.

Nissan Motor and Volvo also agreed to review areas of cooperation, with Dongfeng Motor Co. Ltd. in commercial vehicles in China.

Nissan owns 50 percent of Dongfeng Motor Co. Ltd., a partnership with Dongfeng Motor Group Co. Ltd.

“Our relationship with Dongfeng is one of mutual trust,” Ghosn said.

“Nissan continues to invest substantially into its automotive business in China. Through this cooperation with Volvo, we are looking for opportunities to create a more competitive and more profitable Dongfeng commercial vehicle business,” he said.