Renault, Nissan say break-up rumour untrue – report
Renalt and Nissan have jointly denied media reports regarding a potential break-up, of which has sent shares of both companies tumbling. The automakers said the alliance was shaken even further by former chairman Carlos Ghosn’s escape from Japan, Automotive News Europe reports.
Nissan recently said in a statement that “the alliance is the source of Nissan’s competitiveness. Through the alliance, to achieve sustainable and profitable growth, Nissan will look to continue delivering win-win results for all member companies.” Renault chairman Jean-Dominique Senard chimed in and told Belgian newspaper L’Echo that the alliance is “solid, robust, everything but dead.”
French finance minister Bruno Le Maire echoed the sentiment, adding that reports of several executive who wanted to break up the alliance were “malicious.” Renault shares hit a six-year low following the alleged split, and Nissan shares fell to its lowest in 8.5 years in Tokyo.
The report further elaborated that Nissan and Renault have both struggled financially, with their respective shares being the worst among major automakers in 2019. This is worsened by the costs of electrification and autonomous driving, which are pressuring incumbent car brands to team up or consolidate. For now, any separation is unclear, given that Renault holds 43% of Nissan’s shares (its largest shareholder), while Nissan owns 15% of Renault.
Apparently, the alliance’s relationship has been tense, with roots dating back years ago, particularly since 2015 when Nissan’s involvement in R&D wasn’t properly compensated. “Nissan’s engineering output was 40% better, meaning Nissan engineers on average produced 40% more than their Renault counterparts in a given amount of time spent on a job,” a source claims. “When measured more strictly, Nissan’s output in some cases was double Renault’s.”
Nissan has since asked for an analysis of the workloads and productivity between Renault and Nissan staffs. However, the internal rift among Nissan’s senior management is also adding complexity to the alliance’s reconciliation, much less launch new projects. Renault is currently in the process of choosing a new CEO after ousting Thierry Bollore last October, while Nissan appointed Makoto Uchida, known for having close ties with Renault, as CEO.
Moving forward, Nissan is expected to deliver its crossover electric car based on the Ariya concept (a project initiated during the Ghosn era) sometime this year, which is underpinned by the alliance’s new joint electric platform. A Renault equivalent model is also expected to be introduced in 2021.
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