A Nissan Leaf being charged, via PAA Nissan Leaf being charged, via PA

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Nissan and Honda join forces on developing electric vehicles and AI for cars

  • CEOs of Nissan and Honda appear together at Tokyo news conference
  • Japanese manufacturers to pool resources to try to catch up with other EV makers
  • They’ve signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding

Time 12:40 pm, March 15, 2024

Japan’s second and third biggest carmakers today announced a partnership to develop electric vehicles and AI tech for automotive software platforms.

Nissan and Honda have said they will be pooling their resources as they face strong competition from the likes of BYD and Tesla.

The manufacturers’ chief executives appeared together at a news conference in Tokyo to say the brands would be looking into the possibilities, scope and areas that show potential for collaboration in electrification and the use of intelligent cars.


The agreement is non-binding and discussions will start now.

Carmakers globally are moving towards what promises to be a growth business centred on electric vehicles, focusing on batteries and motors instead of internal combustion engines, as concerns grow about emissions and climate change.

The Japanese have fallen behind some of the world’s powerful rivals partly because they have historically been so successful with combustion engine products.


Nissan pioneered EVs with the all-electric Leaf but it has recently struggled alongside other manufacturers as it faces increasing rivalry from new kids on the block.

It halted production of the Leaf in Sunderland at the beginning of March, with a new Leaf set to be launched at a date yet to be determined, alongside electric iterations of the Juke and Qashqai, following a £3bn investment by Nissan.

CEO Makoto Uchida was quoted by Reuters today as telling the press: ‘Emerging players are very aggressive and are making inroads at incredible speed.

‘We cannot win the competition as long as we stick to conventional wisdom and a traditional approach.’

Honda’s sales are also falling behind its rivals’, with battery-powered vehicles comprising under 0.5% of its global sales of some 2.8m cars during January to September 2023, according to company figures.

Honda president Toshihiro Mibe was quoted by Reuters as saying the two companies had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to examine areas where they could possibly collaborate but had yet to agree on the scope. The MoU is non-binding.

Uchida added that both were open to working together in Japan and abroad.

Nissan already has business alliances with Mitsubishi and Renault, although they won’t be affected by a possible alliance with Honda, he said.

It works with Renault on EVs, mostly in Europe. The upcoming Nissan electric Micra and new Renault Five will have the same architecture and be made in the same northern France factory.


Mibe said both companies would look into cutting costs, adding: ‘We are strapped for time and need to be speedy. To be in a good position in 2030, we need a decision now.’

John Bowman's avatar

John has been with Car Dealer since 2013 after spending 25 years in the newspaper industry as a reporter then a sub-editor/assistant chief sub-editor on regional and national titles. John is chief sub-editor in the editorial department, working on Car Dealer, as well as handling social media.



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