Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi wants to spend up to $1 billion on start-ups over next 5 years

  • CEO Carlos Ghosn wants to create a one-stop shop for entrepreneurs pitching the alliance of carmakers.
  • The venture fund is part of the Alliance 2022 strategy to improve cooperation between Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi, share costs, and boost sales.
  • The fund plans on investing $1 billion over the next 5 years.
Carlos Ghosn
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Carlos Ghosn

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance CEO Carlos Ghosn wants to counter an opinion common among entrepreneurs about working with venture funds backed by big companies.

The French-Japanese group of automakers plans to start a corporate venture capital fund intended to invest up to $1 billion over five years in start-ups developing appealing new mobility technologies.

The fund expects to invest up to $200 million in start-ups making new mobility technologies, such as vehicle electrification, autonomous systems, connectivity and artificial intelligence. It is a step toward fulfilling the group's Alliance 2022 strategy to improve cooperation and cost sharing between the three companies, and boost sales.

"We want to create a platform for a start-up to speak to the three companies, which was not always the case," Ghosn told reporters at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Tuesday.

The plan is to create a group that can enable the large corporate alliance to work nimbly and quickly with far smaller start-ups.

"We understand CVC's have sometimes a bad reputation among entrepreneurs" partly due to a perception that they move and make decisions too slowly said Francois Dossa, the current president of Nissan Brazil, who will lead the fund.

To combat this perception, the group will be a separate legal entity, and will have its own processes for working with start-ups. The fund will have offices in many of the major tech hubs around the world, such as the Silicon Valley region, Paris, Tel Aviv, Tokyo/Yokohama, and Beijing, Dossa said.

Renault and Nissan will each have 40 percent stakes in the fund, with Mitsubishi Motors funding the remaining 20 percent.

The alliance plans to launch 12 all-electric models over the next six years, and also plans to market vehicles with autonomous drive technology and develop robo-vehicle ride-hailing services.

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi expects combined revenues to reach $240 billion, with annual unit sales of more than 14 million by the end of 2022. The alliance sold 10 million vehicles in 2017.