Renault and Nissan have gained more “freedom” to pursue their own ventures as part of a major reset of their conflict-troubled 24-year alliance, the French carmaker’s boss has said.
Luca de Meo told the Financial Times that French and Japanese carmakers would no longer be obliged to “compromise” or work together in areas where they cannot both benefit.
The pair are nevertheless set to announce a number of new joint construction projects in India, Latin America and Europe on Monday, extending their partnership’s historic milestones after the boards of both groups each approved a deal equalizing their cross-shareholdings in each. others as part of the shake-up, a longstanding source of controversy.
The marriage between Renault and Nissan was intended to generate huge savings, but has, in reality, been marred by suspicion and infighting, which has broken out of public view since the arrest in 2018 of former boss Carlos Ghosn.
De Meo compared the businesses to a couple after 25 years together whose needs had diverged on a few fronts. “The conversation doesn’t get as exciting as before, and then one of you stands up from the couch and says ‘I’m going out, I’m going to see friends’.”
He added that both companies were attempting to foster a new mindset and remove layers of barriers to prevent tensions in their partnership from turning into a full-fledged “divorce”. Such purchases from suppliers.
“Renault has achieved its strategic agility and the freedom to do what is good for us, which is not always good for the alliance,” De Meo said.
The reset comes as Renault seeks to speed up development of electric cars in its European stronghold, while Nissan’s next steps may be more focused on improving earnings in markets where it is more concentrated, such as the US or China.
As part of the shake-up, Renault will reduce its 43 percent stake in Nissan to 15 percent over time, while Nissan will receive voting rights for its 15 percent stake in Renault.
But the deal also entails scrapping a shareholder agreement that effectively stifled Renault’s voting rights at Nissan and created a form of “operational impasse”, De Meo said.
Nissan has also agreed to invest in “Ampere”, a new Renault division that will build its own electric vehicle and software technology, which the French company is rolling out as part of a major corporate overhaul.
Until recently, talks between Renault and Nissan were complex and sometimes heated, people familiar with the discussions said, after months of talks.
De Meo said the new joint ventures between Renault and Nissan had been agreed upon as projects that would benefit both and could produce “billions” of value “if it works out perfectly, which it will not.” “. He said it was more likely to produce “millions” in time.
Philippe Houchois, a motor industry analyst at Jefferies, said the alliance reset potentially gave both companies the flexibility to pursue other partnerships.
Renault already has several collaborations with China’s Geely, which will invest in Renault’s engine business, which will be codenamed “Horse”. The pair also work together in South Korea, and there is a project between Renault’s Alpine brand and Geely’s Lotus.
Houchois said that the joint projects were “a side issue”. A huge question was “how Renault manages horses and amps, and how Nissan overcomes its weakness in China and fixes America”.