After FCA merger failure, Renault now focusing on repairing damaged relationship with Nissan
After the merger with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) that it craved for failed to proceed, Renault will now focus on repairing its strained marriage with Nissan. The French carmaker now sees the strengthening of the two decades old alliance as a priority, chairman Jean-Dominique Senard (left in above pic) said yesterday.
“The priority now is to make the alliance successful, efficient and strong. There won’t be any success for Renault if there is no success for the alliance,” Senard said during the company’s shareholder meeting in Paris, reported by Reuters.
The Renault chief added that a strengthening of the alliance would require efforts from both sides, and even though trust between the two partners had deteriorated, nothing was beyond repair.
Senard succeeded Ghosn as chairman, and the latter’s dramatic ousting brought the frayed Franco-Japanese relationship to a new low. Ghosn is facing financial misconduct charges in Japan but denies wrongdoing. He insists that it’s a conspiracy borne out of fear that he would bring Nissan closer to its top shareholder, Renault, which holds a majority 43% stake.
“There was fear that the next step of the alliance in terms of convergence and in terms of moving towards a merger, would in a certain way threaten some people, or eventually threaten the autonomy of Nissan,” he said.
It has been reported that Senard has been working to repair relations with Nissan, but things aren’t going that well. Nissan refused to study Senard’s proposed full merger with Renault – understandably, as it’s seeking more independence – and Renault has blocked governance changes at Nissan and demanded more seats on Nissan’s committees.
Things were further inflamed by the Japanese carmaker’s decision to not endorse the FCA-Renault merger plan. The French government, which owns a majority 15% of Renault, blocked a vote and demanded more time to win Nissan’s backing. This led to FCA walking away from the negotiating table, citing “political conditions” in France.
The French state wants the Renault-Nissan relationship repaired. “Looking at the past 20 years, we see that this quality of Renault has been reinforced by its partnership with Nissan. Therefore it is essential not only to preserve, but to strengthen this alliance. That has always been the strategy of the state and it remains the strategy of the state as shareholder,” finance minister Bruno Le Maire told reporters last week.
The minister even went as far as saying that France was ready to reduce its 15% stake in Renault to win Nissan’s backing. “We can reduce the state’s stake in Renault’s capital. This is not a problem as long as, at the end of the process, we have a more solid auto sector and a more solid alliance between the two great car manufacturers Nissan and Renault,” he told AFP.
It is reported that Renault is unhappy with France’s interference and Senard felt undermined by Le Maire’s surprise statements, which has given bullets to Nissan, so to speak.
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