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.
We have often reported that Sony will not give up on its smartphone business, despite drastically shrinking its operations in recent years. Sony has previously said that this has been led by the ambition of being a leading 5G player has seen the smartphone at the hub of that. Sony's CEO reiterated its commitment to smartphones but gave a more fundamental reason to keep dabbling in mobile.
The Russian Defense Ministry's newspaper says the military fired new surface-to-ship missiles in a drill last autumn on one of the four Russian-controlled islands that Japan claims.
Krasnaya Zvezda reported on Wednesday that a missile unit belonging to the Russian Pacific Fleet conducted the exercise on Etorofu Island with the Bal system.
Earlier, we wrote about Toyota's underwhelming 2018 manual transmission sales figures. To recap – as Toyota's representatives told CarBuzz – the automatic Corolla outsold its manual equivalent to a ratio of 100 to 1, and just one in three Toyota 86 buyers picked a manual version of the rear-drive coupe.
What about the other famous rear-wheel-drive offering from Japan, Mazda's MX-5 Miata? A case can be made that an 86 buyer cross-shops the Miata, and vice-versa, but what kind of split do Mazda's sales figures reflect in comparison?