And selling its business to an investment firm
For years, Nissan has owned a controlling share of a battery company, creatively named the Automotive Energy Supply Corporation. If you’ve ever driven a Nissan Leaf, you’ve driven a car with an AESC battery. But today, Nissan announced plans to sell AESC to an investment firm.
GSR Capital, a Chinese investment firm, will buy AESC, as well as Nissan’s battery factories in Smyrna, Tennessee, and Sunderland, England, and part of Nissan’s battery development operations in Japan at sites including Oppama, Atsugi, and Zama. Before that happens, though, Nissan will first buy out its partners, the NEC Corporation and NEC Energy Devices.
According to Nissan, this move puts the Japanese automaker in a better position. “This is a win-win for AESC and Nissan,” said Hiroto Saikawa, president and chief executive officer of Nissan, in a release. “It enables AESC to utilize GSR’s wide networks and proactive investment to expand its customer base and further increase its competitiveness. In turn, this will further enhance Nissan’s EV competitiveness. AESC will remain a very important partner for Nissan as we deepen our focus on designing and producing market-leading electric vehicles.”
The good news for the workers is that, at least for now, no layoffs are planned. According to the company’s statement, “the workforce at all facilities covered by the deal, including the production plants at Zama, Sunderland, and Smyrna, will continue to be employed.”
Look for the redesigned 2018 Nissan Leaf to debut next month.