Nissan Didn't Have Much Say In Merger Talks, But It Had What Fca Wanted

Nissan didn't have much say in merger talks, but it had what FCA wanted

TOKYO — Nissan wasn't consulted on the proposed merger between its alliance partner Renault and Fiat Chrysler, but the Japanese automaker's reluctance to go along may have helped bring about the surprise collapse of the talks. While Nissan Motor Co. had a weaker bargaining position from the start, with its financial performance crumbling after the arrest last year of its star executive Carlos Ghosn, it still had as its crown jewel the technology of electric vehicles and hybrids that Fiat Chrysler wanted. The board of Renault, meeting Thursday, didn't get as far as voting on the proposal, announced last week, which would have created the world's third biggest automaker, trailing only Volkswagen AG of Germany and Japan's Toyota Motor Corp. When the French government, Renault's top shareholder with a 15% stake, asked for more time to convince Nissan, Fiat Chrysler Chairman John Elkann abruptly withdrew the offer. Although analysts say reviving the talks isn't out of the question, they say trust among the players appears to have been broken. "The other companies made the mistake of underestimating Nissan's determination to say, 'No,' " said Katsuya Takuechi, senior analyst at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities in Tokyo.

The Note, an electric car with a small gas engine to charge its battery, was Japan's No. 1 selling car, the first time in 50 years that a Nissan beat Toyota and Honda. Renault and Fiat Chrylser highlighted possible synergies that come from sharing parts and research costs as the benefits of the merger. But what Fiat Chrysler lacks and really wanted was what's called in the industry "electrification technology," Takeuchi said. With emissions regulations getting stricter around the world, having such technology is crucial. Yokohama-based Nissan makes the world's best-selling electric car Leaf. Its Note, an electric car equipped with a small gas engine to charge its battery, was Japan's No. 1 selling car for the fiscal year through March, the first time in 50 years that a Nissan model beat Toyota and Honda Motor Co. for that title. Nissan is also a leader in autonomous-driving technology, another area all the automakers are trying to innovate. "Although Nissan had no say, its cautionary stance on the merger ended up being very meaningful," Takeuchi said. Nissan has long resisted pressures from Renault for a full merger, and Japanese media reported that Renault had likely hoped its lobbying power would be boosted, if it had merged with Fiat Chrysler. But the collapse of the talks with Fiat Chrysler might mean Renault would merely focus even more on a merger with Nissan, the Asahi newspaper said Friday. Nissan Chief Executive Hiroto Saikawa told reporters late Thursday that he wanted time to find out what the Fiat Chrylser-Renault merger might mean for Nissan, calling it "moving to the next stage." He reiterated his reservations about a full merger with Renault, stressing Nissan must turn its business around first. Fiat Chrysler cited "political conditions in France" for withdrawing its offer to Renault. The French government said it had placed four conditions on the deal, and getting support from Nissan was the condition that wasn't met. The other conditions were to preserve French jobs and factories, respect the governance balance between Renault and Fiat Chrysler, and ensure participation in an electric battery initiative with Germany. Michelle Krebs, executive analyst at Autotrader in Detroit, acknowledged the proposed giant alliance had been complex. "No one ever expected it to be a cake walk to negotiate or execute," she said. "The only surprise is that it ended so soon."

Nissan Is Optimistic About Fca Partnership, But Wants The Right Terms

Nissan is optimistic about FCA partnership, but wants the right terms

BEIJING – Nissan is optimistic about partnering with a combined Renault and Fiat Chrysler (FCA), as long as it can protect the ownership of technology developed over two decades of working with Renault, a senior executive told Reuters.

The executive, who declined to be identified because he is not authorized to speak to the media, said he was cautiously optimistic about the possibility of generating "synergies" by sharing Nissan's autonomous drive know-how, electrification and greenhouse-gas-scrubbing technologies for powertrains.

2018 Honda Ridgeline Longterm Review | Gone But Not Forgotten

2018 Honda Ridgeline Longterm Review | Gone but not forgotten

Nothing else we do here at Autoblog is quite like our longterm reviews. That's why we always try to keep a few vehicles in our longterm garage at any one time. These vehicles stay with us for anywhere from 12 weeks to 12 months and become our workhorses, shuttling and moving people, pets, groceries, gardening supplies, sports equipment, furniture and just about anything else you can imagine. We get to use, drive and maintain them like an actual owner would, giving us a good look at things we may not pick up on in some of our other reviews. Few, if any, of our longtermers have been as versatile as our recently-departed 2018 Honda Ridgeline RTL-E. In fact, we were so in love with the truck that we twice asked Honda to extend the loan.

The second-gen Honda Ridgeline debuted in 2017. It's still an oddball (a unibody truck based on the Honda Pilot and Passport with features like a trunk and a tailgate that articulates in two places) in a field of traditionalists like the Toyota Tacoma, Chevy Colorado and Ford Ranger, but that's what's so compelling about it. It's not trying to be like those other trucks. For better or worse, it's an alternative take on a conservative segment. For many people, it's the truck you actually need, not the one you want, even if that means it's occasionally a bit boring. Read our thoughts below. It's not perfect and it's not cool, but know that one of us on staff enjoyed the truck so much that he's looked at purchasing one for his family.

Sony Will Keep Making Smartphones But Only For Four Markets

Sony Will Keep Making Smartphones But Only For Four Markets


Sony’s Xperia smartphone business has been losing money for quite some time now. Despite rumors that the company was looking to give up on the business altogether, Sony has reiterated its commitment to making smartphones, but will only be selling them in four markets going forward. It’s exiting all of the other markets for a more sustainable approach to the business.

Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida said that the Xperia smartphone business is a pivotal part of Sony’s identity which is entertainment focused. “We see smartphones as hardware for entertainment and a component necessary to make our hardware brand sustainable,” pointing out that younger generations no longer watch TV, “their first touch point is smartphone.”

2019 Nissan Rogue Sport Review And Buying Guide | Stylish But Not Sporty

2019 Nissan Rogue Sport Review and Buying Guide | Stylish but not sporty

The Nissan Rogue Sport crossover is small, attractive, and relatively cheap. Despite sharing a name with the larger Rogue, the Rogue Sport is a completely different vehicle. It's the least expensive vehicle in Nissan's portfolio with optional all-wheel drive. What it doesn't offer, despite its name, is a sporty driving experience, and it can get surprisingly pricey if a buyer isn't careful with options.

What's new for 2019?

Nissan added its new Rear Door Alert technology, which activates the horn and other notifications when the system detects the rear door opened before the engine started but wasn't re-opened after shutting down. Also standard are a rearview monitor, a Bluetooth phone and infotainment system that features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, plus an available nine-speaker Bose audio system. There's a new color option and the expanded availability of its ProPilot Assist semi-autonomous driving and Safety Shield 360 safety technologies. And finally, there's a new exterior color, Scarlet Ember Tintcoat, added to the list of choices.

What's the interior and in-car technology like?

The Rogue Sport is a pretty nice place from which to watch the miles pass by. You probably wouldn't want to spend a lot of time in the rear seat, but it's roomier than a lot of the competition, and both front seats are cozy. The optional leather seats look and feel nicer than you'd expect for a vehicle in this class. The thick, flat-bottomed steering wheel feels good to hold, and helps add a little to the perception of sportiness.

Toyota Quarterly Profit Dips, But Sales Rose; Honda Reports A Loss

Toyota quarterly profit dips, but sales rose; Honda reports a loss

TOKYO — Japan's top automaker Toyota said Wednesday its profit for January-March fell 4% as vehicle sales lagged in North America, while smaller car manufacturer Honda reported a loss. Toyota recorded a quarterly profit of 459.5 billion yen, or $4.2 billion, down from 480.8 billion yen in the same period the previous year. Quarterly sales rose 2% to 7.75 trillion yen ($70 billion), the company said. The maker of the Camry sedan, Prius hybrid and Lexus luxury models is projecting a profit of 2.25 trillion yen, or $20 billion, for the fiscal year through March 2020, up nearly 20% from 1.88 trillion yen ($17 billion) for the fiscal year through March 2019. The company said results for the fiscal year through March this year were hurt by the absence of a U.S. tax break that boosted earnings in the previous fiscal year, and by investment losses. Still, the 30.2 trillion yen ($275 billion) in annual revenue Toyota reported was the first time a Japanese company has recorded sales above 30 trillion yen ($273 billion), a milestone for Japan, according to Japanese media reports. For the fiscal year that ended in March, Toyota sold 10.6 million vehicles around the world, up from 10.4 million vehicles in the previous fiscal year. Toyota's vehicle sales grew in Europe and Asia excluding Japan, but fell in North America, an important and lucrative market. Chief Executive Akio Toyoda told reporters Toyota must adapt to changes in the industry, such as self-driving vehicles, net-connectivity, ecological technology and car-sharing, to stay competitive. "My mission is to put Toyota through a full model change to become a mobility company," instead of just a car manufacturer, he said. Toyoda noted partnerships with Uber and other Silicon Valley businesses, as well as with SoftBank Group Corp., a Japanese internet company, will offer technology for various fields, not just vehicles. Toyota's production methods, admired around the world for efficiency and worker empowerment, are advantages, he said. But Toyoda, a grandson of the automaker's founder who has led the company since 2009, also recalled memories of hardship, such as a massive recall fiasco that had him questioned in U.S. Congress in 2010. "Every day has been nerve-wracking," he said. Also Wednesday, Honda Motor Co. reported a loss of 13 billion yen ($118 million) for January-March, despite growing sales, as an unfavorable exchange rate, income tax expenses and other costs hurt results. Chief Executive Takahiro Hachigo announced Honda will streamline its product offerings, consolidating model variations, and increase parts-sharing to cut costs. Nissan, reeling from the arrest of its former chairman, Carlos Ghosn, on financial misconduct charges, reports financial results on May 14.