TOKYO - Mitsubishi Motors Corp. will not spare the suppliers that belong to the parent Mitsubishi Group when it seeks price cuts as part of its restructuring, President Takashi Sonobe said here last week.
On the other hand, the carmaker has no plans to sell more assets to reduce its debts, he said.
Speaking to a small group of reporters Monday, Nov. 20, Sonobe said that Mitsubishi Group companies account for 14 percent of Mitsubishi's procurement spending. But he said those ties won't bring Mitsubishi-affiliated suppliers any preferential treatment.
'The need for further cost reductions lies with all suppliers, whether or not they are part of the affiliated Mitsubishi Group,' he said.
But when asked about selling assets, which presumably might include some of its stakes in Mitsubishi Group affiliates, Sonobe said, 'We are not having any such thoughts.'
Sonobe also commented on the mixed ownership that will result after Mitsubishi spins off its truck business next year. Sweden's AB Volvo will own 19.9 percent of the new company, Mitsubishi Fuso Truck & Bus Co., in addition to the 3.3 percent of Mitsubishi Motors it already owns.
DaimlerChrysler AG owns 34 percent of Mitsubishi Motors. As a result, Sonobe said, 'Thirty-four percent of the 80 percent (of Fuso Truck) not owned by Volvo will be in the influence sphere of DaimlerChrysler.'
But 'I don't anticipate any problems' from that, he said.
Sonobe was asked how he would deal with potential morale problems among Mitsubishi employees who may distrust the motives of DaimlerChrysler Chairman Juergen Schrempp.
Schrempp has said he never meant for the takeover of Chrysler to be 'a merger of equals,' despite presenting it as such at the time.
Said Sonobe: 'I'm confident that as long as Mitsubishi is able to provide technology and products that win the approval of the marketplace, there will be no change in the alliance with DaimlerChrysler.'