Profits Trump Nissan Renault Alliance For Company Says Analysts

Profits trump Nissan Renault alliance for company says analysts

The next head of Nissan Motor Co will need to prioritize a recovery in profits at the troubled Japanese firm ahead of trying to fix its relationship with top shareholder Renault SA, executives and analysts say. Reviving earnings would strengthen the carmaker's hand in negotiations with its French partner, and is something Renault itself would welcome as the owner of a 43.4% stake in Nissan. Japan's second-largest automaker said on Monday CEO Hiroto Saikawa would step down on Sept. 16 after he admitted to being overpaid in breach of company rules. It's another heavy blow for Nissan, which is already reeling from the arrest of former chairman Carlos Ghosn last year and a subsequent plunge in earnings. Its stock is down 20% this year. For Saikawa's yet-to-be-named replacement, the top priority will be lifting profits from a more than decade low. Earnings have been undercut by years of heavy discounts and low-margin sales to rental firms that have cheapened Nissan's brand image. Renault, which has unsuccessfully sought a full-blown merger with its larger partner, is likely to give the Japanese firm time to focus on its turnaround, a Nissan executive said. "It goes without saying recovery is the biggest priority," the executive said, declining to be identified because the information is not public. "We have Renault's understanding on that." Tensions in the Nissan-Renault partnership worsened after Ghosn's arrest. He is awaiting trial in Tokyo on financial misconduct charges that he denies. The strain has sparked investor concern about the future of the Franco-Japanese automaking alliance at a time when car companies desperately need scale to keep up with sweeping technological changes like electric vehicles and ride-hailing. Nissan executives have long complained about their unequal partnership with Renault, which saved the Japanese firm from bankruptcy in 1999. Nissan holds a 15% stake in Renault, but without voting rights. Tokyo is also seen as being uneasy about the French government's 15% holding in Renault, which makes Paris an indirect shareholder in Nissan. "Profitability is likely to remain under pressure and it (Nissan) is unlikely to promptly reach an agreement with Renault over the future shape of the alliance," analysts at Standard & Poor's said in a note. Tensions worsened when Renault tried to in vain to merge with Nissan and then Fiat Chrysler. Both Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard and the French government may now have to hold off on their expressed desire for stronger ties with Nissan. "It's also in the French government's interest for Nissan to improve its bottom line," Janet Lewis, head of Asia transportation research at Macquarie Securities. "Renault's share price is going to benefit much more from a healthy Nissan than any kind of merger agreement." COO Yasuhiro Yamauchi will take over from Saikawa next week on an interim basis as a newly created nominations committee will recommend a successor by the end of October. Possible candidates include Nissan veteran Jun Seki, and Makoto Uchida, who currently head's the automaker's China operations. Two key tasks for the new CEO will be to see through Nissan's recovery strategy in the United States, where it is trying to stop flooding the market with discounted cars, and execute plans announced by Saikawa in July to cut excess production at its global plants. Saikawa on Monday suggested that his plan to improve U.S. profit by producing higher-quality cars while weaning dealers off of sales incentives was already paying off, and that signs of recovery would be evident at first-half results next month. The new CEO will also oversee a cut of around one-tenth of Nissan's global workforce - its deepest job cuts since 2009 - and slash production capacity, shuttering underutilized plants built as part of Ghosn's aggressive growth strategy in 2011 to grab 8% global market share. While steep, the challenges facing Nissan now are different from 1999, said Macquarie's Lewis, referring to the time when Renault rescued the automaker from the brink bankruptcy and dispatched Ghosn to overhaul the Japanese company. "Nissan has a very strong balance sheet, it has a very profitable business in China. They have some problems in the U.S. but they're not insurmountable," she said. "This is not a 1999 situation where Nissan needs to be rescued."

Renault-nissan Alliance Director Clashes With Ceo, Leaves For Peugeot

Renault-Nissan alliance director clashes with CEO, leaves for Peugeot

PARIS — A senior Renault-Nissan executive has quit the troubled carmaking alliance to join Peugeot maker PSA Group, blaming Renault boss Thierry Bollore for forcing his exit. Former alliance director Arnaud Deboeuf will become PSA's industrial strategy director under Chief Executive Carlos Tavares, himself a former Renault second-in-command, the rival French carmaker confirmed on Tuesday. Deboeuf's exit underscores deep tensions threatening to subsume the Renault-Nissan alliance in the wake of the November 2018 arrest of former Chairman Carlos Ghosn, now awaiting trial in Japan on financial misconduct charges he denies. Those tensions have been exacerbated by failed attempts under Bollore and new Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard to secure a full Renault-Nissan merger and to combine Renault with Fiat Chrysler, a move thwarted by the French state. Deboeuf was well regarded at Nissan and even offered a senior executive role at the Japanese carmaker, as his relations with Bollore soured following Ghosn's ouster, three sources told Reuters. But Bollore, a former Ghosn protégé who succeeded his absent boss as CEO in January, blocked the move. "Thierry Bollore told me no one wanted to work with me ... and that I could not go to work at Nissan either," Deboeuf said in a farewell email to colleagues seen by Reuters. Renault declined to comment on Deboeuf's departure. Deboeuf did not respond to requests for comment. His move adds to a steady Renault brain-drain to PSA since 2013, when Tavares was hired to rescue the carmaker from near-bankruptcy. Other switchers from Renault include Yann Vincent, PSA's executive vice president for manufacturing, and powertrain engineering chief Alain Raposo. Tavares, who preceded Bollore as Ghosn's No.2 at Renault, was pushed out after publicly voicing CEO ambitions. Under its Portuguese-born leader, PSA has set new profitability records while making swift headway on the integration of Opel, acquired from General Motors in 2017.

Like Its Partner Nissan, Renault Has Weak 2q, Lowers Revenue Forecast - Autoblog

Like its partner Nissan, Renault has weak 2Q, lowers revenue forecast - Autoblog

PARIS — Renault warned revenue may decline this year, scrapping a previous goal, after first-half profit was hit by weakening car demand and an earnings collapse at alliance partner Nissan in the wake of the Carlos Ghosn scandal. Net income slumped by more than half to 970 million euros ($1.08 billion) in January-June as revenue fell 6.4% to 28.05 billion, the French carmaker said on Friday. Operating profit also dropped 13.6% to 1.65 billion euros. "Given the degradation in demand, the group now expects 2019 revenues to be close to last year's," Renault said — abandoning an earlier pledge to increase revenue before currency effects. A broad-based auto sales downturn has rattled the sector, prompting profit warnings and compounding challenges for Renault and Nissan as they struggle to turn the page on the Ghosn era. Their former alliance boss is now awaiting trial in Japan on financial misconduct charges he denies. Renault's bottom line was hit by an 826 million-euro drop in earnings from its 43.4%-owned partner. Nissan is cutting 12,500 jobs globally after an earnings collapse that it is keen to blame on Ghosn's leadership. But Renault's own performance - reflected in an operating margin that declined to 5.9% from 6.4% the year before - compares less favorably with domestic rival PSA Group. The Peugeot maker bucked the downturn with a record 8.7% profit margin unveiled on Wednesday. Alliance tensions flared after Ghosn's November arrest, worsened when Renault tried in vain to merge with Nissan then Fiat Chrysler, and may be affecting operational performance, investors fear. Citi analyst Raghav Gupta-Chaudhary flagged a lower-than-usual 258 million euros in joint purchasing savings for Renault. "We thought this would be weak in light of the well-documented difficulties with the alliance," he said. Renault blamed falling sales in France, as well as Turkey and Argentina, for a 7.7% revenue drop at its core automotive business, whose profit margin slid to 4% from 4.5%. Operating free cash flow also suffered, coming in at a negative 716 million euros as investment jumped by 742 million euros to 2.91 billion. Renault, which is counting on model launches including a new Clio mini to boost performance in the second half of 2019, nonetheless reiterated pledges to deliver positive full-year cash flow and a margin close to 6%. Renault shares were down 0.5% at 52.02 euros as of 0800 GMT in Paris, after initially falling as much as 2.7%. The stock remains almost 19% below its level on the eve of Ghosn's Nov. 19 arrest in Tokyo.

France's Macron Says Renault-nissan Partnership Is A 'jewel' To Be Strengthened

France's Macron says Renault-Nissan partnership is a 'jewel' to be strengthened

TOKYO — French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday called for further synergies and alliances to strengthen the Renault-Nissan partnership in a global market. "The Renault-Nissan alliance is a jewel in the industry," Macron told French expatriates in Tokyo. "We created a giant which we must not only preserve but develop synergies and alliances to strengthen it in the face of international competition." His comments appeared to leave open the possibility both of a deeper integration of the 20-year-old Renault-Nissan alliance, which has been shaken by the scandal over its former chief Carlos Ghosn, and tie-ups with other manufacturers. Last month, Renault and Italian-American group Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) announced they were in merger talks. But the discussions were called off after FCA grew frustrated with the role the French state was playing, especially its need to secure agreement from Nissan over how to move the merger forward. Since the break-off of the FCA talks, Renault executives have been looking to rebuild ties with Nissan, which is keen to reduce the influence the French state has in the alliance via its 15% stake in Renault. Renault owns 43% of the Japanese automaker, which in turn holds a 15%, non-voting stake in its partner. Nissan on Tuesday threw cold water on hopes for a quick fix to strained relations with France's Renault SA , saying inequality between the partners could unravel their two-decade-old automaking alliance.

Macron said on Wednesday France would remain vigilant that Carlos Ghosn's presumption of innocence and the former Renault-Nissan leader's rights to defend himself in a Japanese lawcase are respected.

Waymo To Bring Self-driving Cars To France And Japan With Nissan-renault

Waymo To Bring Self-Driving Cars To France And Japan With Nissan-Renault


Waymo, Nissan, and Renault have teamed up to bring self-driving cars to France and Japan, the companies announced today. They have inked an exclusive agreement to explore all aspects of driverless mobility services for both passengers and deliveries in these countries. The announcement is a little light on details about any concrete plans to launch self-driving taxi services, for example.

It appears to be an arrangement similar to the ones that Waymo has announced with other car manufacturers. That’s probably why the wording in this announcement is somewhat vague as well.

Waymo Partners With Nissan, Renault On Robotaxis Outside U.s.

Waymo partners with Nissan, Renault on robotaxis outside U.S.

SAN FRANCISCO — Self-driving car pioneer Waymo is teaming up with automakers Renault and Nissan to make its first journey outside the U.S. with a ride-hailing service that will dispatch a fleet of robotaxis in France and Japan. The partnership announced late Wednesday underscores Waymo's ambition to deploy its driverless technology throughout the world in an attempt to revolutionize the way people get around. The Mountain View, California, company can afford to try because it's backed by one of the world's richest companies, Google, which secretly began working on driverless technology a decade ago before spinning off that project into what is now known as Waymo. After launching its ride-hailing service in France and Japan, Waymo intends to explore other European and Asian markets with Renault and Nissan. "This is an ideal opportunity for Waymo to bring our autonomous technology to a global stage," Waymo CEO John Krafcik said. Waymo, Renault and Nissan didn't set a timetable for when their ride-hailing service will launch. They left most other details vague. It seems likely it will still be several years before Waymo will be in a position to pose a serious challenge to Uber, the world's largest ride-hailing service. Although Waymo's self-driving technology is widely considered to be the world's most advanced, it still isn't adept enough to be trusted without a human poised to take control in case something goes awry with the robot. Waymo had hoped to launch a fully autonomous ride-hailing service last year in the Phoenix area, but instead is still keeping human safety drivers in those vehicles more than six months after it rolled out. That service, known as Waymo One, is still only offering rides to a few hundred passengers that previously participated in a test program. Krafcik told the German newspaper Handelsblatt last year that Waymo will likely use a different brand for its ride-hailing services outside the U.S. That could be one reason Waymo is working with France-based Renault and Japan-based Nissan, household names in their home countries. Waymo has previously struck deals with two automakers, Fiat Chrysler and Jaguar, but those involved ordering tens of thousands of vehicles to be equipped with self-driving technology for services in the U.S. So far, Waymo is only using Fiat Chrysler minivans for its Phoenix service. The partnership with Renault and Nissan also involves a long-time alliance they formed with Mitsubishi. But the fate of that alliance has been in limbo since Carlos Ghosn, the former CEO of both Renault and Nissan, was arrested late last year on charges that included falsifying financial reports.

Nissan Moving To Compromise With Renault

Nissan moving to compromise with Renault

Nissan is now shifting its stance toward accepting some of the requests from its major shareholder, Renault, regarding the Japanese company's plan to reform its governance system.

The move is aimed at stopping the French automaker from abstaining from a vote on the plan.