Photo by Hans Greimel Calsonic Kansei Corp. headquarters in Saitama, Japan.
Nissan's possible sale of Calsonic Kansei, one of its biggest suppliers, would cast off a final vestige of the carmaker's keiretsu system of intertwined parts makers.
It also would inject cash into Nissan as it funds expensive projects in electrified and autonomous cars — not to mention its looming purchase of a controlling interest in Mitsubishi Motors Corp.
Buying the proposed 34% controlling stake in Mitsubishi would set Nissan back some $2.2bn, and the carmaker aims to finalize the takeover by the end of this year.
The Japanese media initially reported that Nissan was considering selling its 41% stake in Calsonic Kansei less than two weeks after Nissan said it would splurge on buying Mitsubishi.
Nissan has not confirmed its intent to sell.
A Nissan spokesman described Calsonic Kansei as one of the "most important partners" of Nissan and Renault, its French alliance partner. But he added: "We are always considering various options that would lead to increasing their competitiveness."
A person familiar with the matter said Nissan is exploring the sale as part of its long-term strategy of shedding major stakes in suppliers, especially suppliers producing commodity parts.
A Calsonic Kansei spokeswoman declined to comment on the matter.
Calsonic Kansei is a top maker of auto interiors, electronics and climate systems. Producers of such products have been under pressure from low-cost rivals in China and elsewhere, while automakers shift their focus on partnerships to advanced-technology companies.
Calsonic Kansei Europe is a major injection moulder of automotive parts. In addition to production at customer sites, it has its own production facilities in: Sunderland, Washington and Llanelli in the UK; Barcelona, Spain; Ploiesti, Romania; and St Petersburg and Izhevsk in Russia.
US-based Calsonic North America includes two plants with injection moulding of interior parts.
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