Nissan-renault-mitsubishi Will Share Platforms, Divvy Up The Globe

Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi will share platforms, divvy up the globe

TOKYO — The auto alliance of Nissan and Renault said Wednesday it will be sharing more vehicle parts, technology and models to save costs as the industry struggles to survive the coronavirus pandemic.

Alliance Operating Board Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard said the group, which also includes smaller Japanese automaker Mitsubishi, will have each company focusing on geographic regions.

Nissan, Renault Plan To Solve Disagreements, Face Crisis Together

Nissan, Renault plan to solve disagreements, face crisis together

Renault and Nissan have shelved plans to push towards the full merger former leader Carlos Ghosn craved and will instead fix their troubled alliance to try to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, five senior sources told Reuters.

Nissan has long resisted Renault's proposals for a full-blown merger as executives felt the French carmaker was not paying its fair share for the engineering work it did in Japan, sowing discord that some feared could wreck the partnership.

Nissan Could Cut 20,000 Jobs, As France Says 'renault Could Disappear'

Nissan could cut 20,000 jobs, as France says 'Renault could disappear'

PARIS/TOKYO — Europe's car industry was put on alert for more job losses on Friday as a French minister warned Renault could disappear if it didn't get help soon and a Japanese news report said partner Nissan was considering 20,000 layoffs, with many in Europe.

Renault and Nissan have been in a carmaking alliance for the past two decades and are due to announce a strategy update next Wednesday.

Renault, Needing Cuts Like Partner Nissan, Will Kill Car Models

Renault, needing cuts like partner Nissan, will kill car models

PARIS — Renault is preparing to substantially reduce its vehicle range, withdrawing well-known but ailing models like the Espace minivans, as part of looming cost cutting plans, four sources in the industry and close to the French carmaker said.

The company, shaken by the downfall of its once star CEO Carlos Ghosn and by setbacks in its main markets, is set to detail at the end of the month how it aims to cut costs by 2 billion euros ($2.16 billion) over the next three years.

Nissan To Exit Renault Venture Capital Fund

Nissan to exit Renault venture capital fund

TOKYO — Nissan is likely to pull out from a venture capital fund it runs with alliance partners Renault and Mitsubishi Motors, as part of the Japanese automaker's drive to cut costs and conserve cash, two sources said.

Nissan will formally take a decision on whether to leave the fund, Alliance Ventures, by the end of this month, the two Nissan insiders told Reuters, declining to be identified because the information has not been made public.

Renault Chairman Dismisses Reports Nissan Wants To Split From Alliance

Renault chairman dismisses reports Nissan wants to split from alliance

PARIS — Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard said on Thursday there was a "real desire" within the top ranks of both companies for its alliance with Nissan to succeed, dismissing suggestions the partnership was on the rocks. Turmoil within the Franco-Japanese alliance, long dogged by internal rivalries, deepened following the November 2018 arrest in Tokyo of its architect and long-time boss Carlos Ghosn on charges of financial crimes, which he denies. Attempts to restore calm were dealt a fresh blow by Ghosn's dramatic flight from Japanese justice and a series of no-holds-barred allegations he has made from his refuge in Lebanon, including that he was the victim of a plot to oust him and that the alliance is now a "masquerade". Nissan has vigorously rejected Ghosn's stance, while both the Japanese firm and Renault have tried to rubbish suggestions their two decades old partnership is falling apart. "We have a board overseeing the alliance which is made up of people who are all extremely in favor of the alliance," Renault Chairman Senard told a briefing with reporters. "There is a common desire to associate our strategic plans and a real desire to make this alliance a success," he added, dismissing a report that Nissan was examining scenarios for a possible future outside of the alliance as "fake news." The 66-year-old declined to comment on anything related to Ghosn, adding: "I only think about the future." Renault shares were down 2% by 1123 GMT, underperfoming the broader auto sector which was down on news that Washington has threatened to impose tariffs on European car imports due to Europe's stance on Iran. Renault's French rival and Peugeot maker PSA Group also gave a flavor of some industry headwinds, reporting a 10% fall in its global sales last year as Chinese demand tanked. Renault is due to publish its 2019 global sales on Friday.

JOINT PROJECTS

Analysts see Renault-Nissan's cost-saving alliance as vital to both companies as the car industry battles a slowdown and huge investments in cleaner vehicles and automated driving, particularly as rivals PSA and Fiat Chrysler are merging to help meet these challenges. Renault held ultimately unsuccessful talks to combine with Fiat Chrysler last year, which Ghosn described at a Beirut news conference as a huge missed opportunity. Senard, who chairs the alliance's operating board, said on Thursday that once the partnership has been rebooted, other firms might potentially want to join. The executive, who used to run tyre maker Michelin, has become the de facto senior figure in Renault and Nissan's alliance, though without Ghosn's commander-in-chief aura, which had helped hold it together. While that is partly deliberate — both parties are keen to avoid another strongman situation and created a four-member operating board to oversee the alliance — Senard will now have to show he can push through new joint projects. He declined to give details of these beyond saying potential cost savings could be substantial, and that the alliance's board would meet soon to decide on its industrial plan. The meeting is scheduled for Jan. 30, a source close to Renault said. The firms are meanwhile finalizing a management revamp, with Renault close to appointing a new CEO after ousting Ghosn-ally Thierry Bollore in October. A new CEO started at Nissan in December. Luca de Meo, who recently stepped down as the head of Volkswagen's Seat brand, is seen as the frontrunner for the Renault job, although a non-compete clause in his contract is proving a problem, sources have said. Interim CEO Clotilde Delbos is also in the frame. Senard said shaking up the shareholder structure in the alliance was not a priority for either side. Renault, which is part-owned by the French state, has 43% of Nissan, while the Japanese firm has 15% of the French carmaker, with no voting rights attached — a structure that has caused friction.

Renault, Nissan Say Alliance Will Not Split Despite Rumors

Renault, Nissan say alliance will not split despite rumors

TOKYO/PARIS — Shares in Renault recovered some lost ground on Tuesday after the French carmaker and its Japanese partner Nissan rejected media reports that their alliance was in danger of being dissolved. Some have openly questioned whether the alliance can survive without disgraced former CEO Carlos Ghosn to keep the two partners happy.  Renault shares fell to a six-year low on Monday after rumors circulated that its alliance with Nissan was in jeopardy. Nissan shares tumbled to their lowest in 8½ years on Tuesday in Tokyo. At the opening of trading in Paris on Tuesday, Renault shares rose 1.3 percent, before falling back slightly to trade up 0.49 percent by 08:23 GMT. The alliance, which also includes Japan's Mitsubishi Motors, is "solid, robust, everything but dead," the chairman of Renault, Jean-Philippe Senard, told Belgian newspaper L'Echo. A split between the two automotive giants would force both to find new partners in a fast-consolidating industry that is growing increasingly difficult to navigate for independent companies. It will be especially difficult for Renault and Nissan, whose dirty laundry Ghosn intends to air for public consideration.   French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire also weighed in, saying reports some executives wanted to break up the alliance were "malicious." Speaking to France's CNews TV, he also said he expected Renault to name a new chief executive within days to replace Thierry Bollore, a Ghosn-era appointee who was ousted in October. Luca de Meo, who stepped down as the head of Volkswagen's Seat brand last week, is seen as a frontrunner for the job, although a stringent non-compete clause in his contract firm may prove a hurdle, sources have told Reuters. Nissan, in response to "speculative international media reports," said it was "in no way considering dissolving the alliance." "The alliance is the source of Nissan's competitiveness," the Japanese automaker said in a statement. "Through the alliance, to achieve sustainable and profitable growth, Nissan will look to continue delivering win-win results for all member companies." Concerns emerged about the future of the Renault-Nissan partnership after the November 2018 arrest in Japan of Ghosn, the man who did more than anyone else to hold together the disparate alliance of often-contrasting carmaking cultures. Those worries were given new momentum after Ghosn last month fled Japan where he was awaiting trial on charges of financial misconduct -- which he denies --, flew to Lebanon, and told the media the alliance was riven with mistrust. A Financial Times report on Monday that Nissan executives were making contingency plans for a split with Renault appeared to accelerate a sell-off in the French manufacturer's shares.

Renault Shares Hit Six-year Low On Rumors Of Nissan Split

Renault shares hit six-year low on rumors of Nissan split

LONDON — Renault shares hit six-year lows on Monday after a media report that Nissan has accelerated secret contingency planning for a potential split from the French carmaker, the latest sign that the downfall of former boss Carlos Ghosn is roiling the 20-year alliance. At 1027 GMT, the shares were down 3.7%, languishing at the bottom of Paris' CAC 40 and the pan European STOXX 600 index. The plans include war-gaming a total split in engineering and manufacturing, as well as changes to Nissan's board, the Financial Times newspaper reported on Sunday citing several sources. Nissan's contingency planning has ramped up since the dramatic escape of Ghosn, the former head of the Renault-Nissan  alliance, from Japan in late December, it said. The tie-up has been in management turmoil since Ghosn's arrest in Tokyo in November 2018 on allegations of financial misconduct, which he denies. He was awaiting trial in Japan when he fled to Lebanon. "We firmly believe the relationship between (Renault and Nissan) and hence the Alliance is broken and is likely beyond the point of repair," Evercore ISI analysts Arndt Elinghorst and Chris McNally wrote in a note on Monday. They have an 'underperform' rating on the French car company. Renault was not available for immediate comment.

Nissan Ceo Makoto Uchida Rules Out Closer Capital Ties With Renault

Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida rules out closer capital ties with Renault

YOKOHAMA — Nissan is committed to its automaking alliance with Renault but will not look to deepen its capital ties with the French automaker any time soon, its new CEO said on Monday. On his first day in the new position, chief executive Makoto Uchida also pledged to repair profitability at Japan's No. 2 automaker and said setting realistic targets would be key toward that goal, as it tries to make a clean break from the leadership of former chairman Carlos Ghosn. "Closer capital ties with Renault are not a focus in the short term," he told reporters. Uchida became CEO of Nissan on Dec. 1, as the car maker tries to recover from a profit slump and draw a line under a year of turmoil after the Ghosn scandal. The ousted chairman is fighting financial misconduct charges in Japan. One of the new CEO's big tasks is to salvage ties with Renault, which have deteriorated since Ghosn's ouster as chairman of both companies. Renault holds a 43.4% stake in Nissan after it saved the Japanese automaker from financial ruin two decades ago, and has pushed for the two companies to merge. In rejecting a notion of a merger with Renault, Uchida, 53, echoes his predecessor Hiroto Saikawa, who stepped down in September. He added that the alliance must re-think how it can serve all of its three members, which also includes Mitsubishi Motors. "The alliance has to benefit each of its partners in terms of revenue and profit," he said. "We need to re-evaluate what has worked and what hasn't worked in the alliance in the past few years." The CEO called for Nissan to set "challenging but achievable" targets, adding that this and the launch of more new car models and vehicle technologies would be key to its financial recovery. Nissan is bracing for its lowest annual profit in 11 years and has slashed its dividend by 65%. Its struggles come at a time when car companies desperately need scale to keep up with sweeping technological changes like electric vehicles and ride-hailing. "Somewhere along the way we created a culture of setting targets which could not be achieved," Uchida said, adding that this had resulted in a focus on short-term results. "Years of this had led Nissan to its current "difficult situation," he said, using heavy vehicle discounting in the U.S. market as an example of how aggressive sales targets to grow market share had deteriorated the company's brand.

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."