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Nissan says it’s not splitting up with Renault

by Ace Damon
Nissan says it's not splitting up with Renault

Nissan is dismissing reports that it is planning a corporate divorce from Renault.

"Nissan is by no means thinking of dissolving the Alliance," the Japanese automaker said in a statement on Tuesday, referring to the global car alliance between Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi Motors.

The statement came in response to growing reports in recent days that Nissan was concerned about the tense relationship with Renault following the fall of former boss Carlos Ghosn, and was considering contingency plans to separate from the French automaker.

Ghosn is currently in Lebanon after making a bold escape from Japan last month. He was arrested in Tokyo in late 2018 on suspicion of financial misconduct, leading to his leaving the top of Nissan and the alliance. Ghosn repeatedly denied the allegations, alleging that his arrest was triggered by Nissan executives who opposed his plans to deepen the Japanese company's integration with Renault.

Ghosn designed the global car alliance, and it has been rumored to end since he was arrested.

The three automakers share ownership interests, technology and manufacturing facilities. The installation brought financial benefits. Pooling resources between the three manufacturers saves more than € 5 billion ($ 5.7 billion) a year in costs, according to the companies.

Nissan highlighted on Tuesday the benefits of staying at Renault and Mitsubishi.

"The Alliance is the source of Nissan's competitiveness. Through the Alliance, in order to achieve sustainable and profitable growth, Nissan will seek to continue delivering win-win results for all member companies," the company said.

France's government, which owns 15% of Renault, had a stake on Tuesday. Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told CNews TV that reports suggesting a separation with Nissan were "malicious."

Le Maire added that a new Renault CEO should be in place "in a few days". Thierry Bolloré, who succeeded Ghosn as CEO, was deposed in October.

Ghosn Reviews

At a large press conference in Lebanon last week, Ghosn criticized the alliance for missing a "big opportunity" following its fall to bring Fiat Chrysler on board.

"It's unbelievable," said Ghosn. "How can you miss this? How can you miss a great opportunity to become the dominant player in this industry?"

Fiat Chrysler agreed last year with French automaker Peugeot.

Ghosn also said Nissan's campaign against him is destroying the company and its reputation and diverting the attention of top management.

"The drop in Nissan's market value as my arrest is over $ 10 billion," he said. "They lost more than $ 40 million a day."

Nissan shares have fallen 38% since Ghosn's arrest in November 2018, leading to a drop of just under $ 10 billion in the company's market valuation.

The company said last week it is still taking "appropriate legal action" against Ghosn, despite his flight from Japan.

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