The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance is setting up a $200m (£147m) venture fund to invest in mobility tech startup, according to reports.
Sources told Reuters that the fund will be 40% financed by Nissan, 40% by Renault and 20% by Mitsubishi.
The three companies have been in a strategic alliance since 1999, facilitated by ownership structure: Renault owns a 43% stake in Nissan, which in turns owns a third of Mitsubishi.
One of the sources said of the fund: “It will allow us to move faster on acquisitions ahead of our competition.”
An announcement unveiling the fund is reportedly to be made by Carlos Ghosn, chief executive officer of the alliance, at the CES Tech show in Las Vegas next Tuesday, January 9.
Major carmakers worldwide have set corporate capital venture (CVC) funds to tap into the mobility startup scene. BMW has set aside the biggest capital for the purpose, with its €500m iVentures fund, while Groupe PSA and GM have ringfenced €100m and $250m (£184m).
Some OEMs are instead looking at alternative avenues than leveraging start-ups: Ford has partnered up with Chinese conglomerate Alibaba to develop mobility tech, while Volvo recently bolstered its R&D arm through a loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB).
Volkswagen, meanwhile, heads a EU-wide research consortium that includes, among other, PSA, Audi, Toyota and Fiat.
Self-drive start-up Aurora strikes OEMs partnerships
In related news, autonomous car startup Aurora, based in Silicon Valley, has struck distinct partnerships with Volkswagen and Hyundai to collaborate on self-driving vehicles.
Woong Chul Yang, vice chairman of Hyundai, said: “We know the future of transportation is autonomous, and autonomous driving technology needs to be proven in the real-world to accelerate deployment in a safe and scalable manner.”
“Combining our advanced vehicle technology that embeds the latest safety features with Aurora’s leading suite of level 4 [requiring no human input in most circumstances] autonomous technology will advance this revolution in mobility with Hyundai in a leadership position.”
Meanwhile,Volkswagen chief digital officer Johann Jungwirth, said: “Our vision is ‘Mobility for all, at the push of a button’. This means that we want to offer mobility for all people around the world.
“Our aim is to create new Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) solutions which customers will be really passionate about because they have been tailored to the human with highest safety standards, best-in-class user experience and digital intelligence. For me this is the reinvention of mobility and the automobile.”