Nissan in talks to sell controlling stake in battery business
Nissan Motor Co is in talks with other companies about a possible sale of its controlling stake in Automotive Energy Supply Corporation, a manufacturer of lithium ion batteries for electric vehicles created in 2007 as a joint venture between Nissan, NEC and NEC TOKIN.
Nissan it putting production of batteries for its electric and hybrid vehicle on hold, including those for its Leaf model.
Instead, the automaker plans on purchasing batteries from outside suppliers as it is cheaper than producing them in-house. Nissan’s sister company Renault already sources the majority of its batteries from LG Chem.
According to Reuters, Nissan said in an email that talk of a sale is “speculation, and is not based on any announcement by us”.
People familiar with the matter told Nikkei that Nissan will sell its entire stake in the venture, in addition to its other independent battery manufacturing operations in the UK and US.
The carmaker currently has capacity to produce over 400,000 EV batteries per year.
Nissan and its sister company Renault made a pledge in 2009 to invest $4.43 billion to produce electric vehicles such as the Leaf and provide as many as half a million batteries for these vehicles.
However, because of disappointing Leaf sales, Nissan has been unable to lower battery costs through mass production.
Sources told Reuters that Nissan is also in the process of selling its 41 percent stake in auto parts supplier Calsonic Kansei Corp.
Earlier this year, in May, the automaker agreed to acquire a 34-percent stake in Mitsubishi Motors Corp for approximately $2.2 billion.