YOKOHAMA, Japan -- Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said restoring Mitsubishi Motors' credibility with consumers will be his top challenge but that the company will not impose its management on the smaller, scandal-hit automaker.
Ghosn's comments come a day after Nissan announced a planned $2.2 billion investment for a 34 percent controlling stake in Mitsubishi, which is mired in a fuel-economy cheating scandal. The deal allows Nissan to nominate a third of Mitsubishi's board and also its leader, prompting speculation of a significant management reshuffle.
The Nissan CEO sought to downplay talk today of wholesale change at Mitsubishi, telling a news conference at Nissan's headquarters in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, that his company will propose the board members but won't "impose anybody" on Mitsubishi.
Ghosn also said Mitsubishi CEO Osamu Masuko will remain the "pilot" after the deal is completed.
"The biggest challenge is to support Mitsubishi changing itself and growing and being profitable and restoring its reputation," he said, adding that winning back consumers' trust was Mitsubishi's job, though Nissan would support its efforts.
Nissan shares jumped 4.1 percent today, a day after the news of the deal. Mitsubishi shares, which had surged 16 percent on Thursday, eased 1.7 percent.
The completion of the deal is subject to due diligence. "We don't want to anticipate on the [results of the] due diligence," Ghosn said, adding that he is still waiting on the results of the Japanese regulators' investigation into Mitsubishi.
The transport ministry said on Friday it raided Mitsubishi's headquarters in Tokyo after allegations that a manager at the company ordered the cheating at a subsidiary that handles fuel-economy testing. Mitsubishi confirmed the raid.