The global alliance between French carmaker Renault and Nissan could be unraveling, according to a new report.
Last month, Fiat Chrysler proposed a merger to Renault. The proposal caught the automotive world off guard, and no more so than Japanese carmaker Nissan. As part of the global Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, Nissan was obviously concerned on what FCA’s inclusion into the alliance would entail and what voice they would have in the new order after their shares in Renault were watered-down post-merger.
For these reasons, Nissan abstained from the vote that would have seen FCA and Renault merge. Concerned that this abstention signaled Nissan’s disapproval, France--which owns shares in Renault--also declined to provide their support. Exhausted by a voting deadlock that seemed to be going nowhere, FCA walked away from the table rather than continue negotiations.
France might have been blamed publicly for the merger’s failure, but Renault secretly seemed to blame Nissan. An earlier report this month revealed that Renault stymied an attempt to reform Nissan’s corporate structure that would have made it harder for another Carlos Ghosn to illegally siphon company funds. Restructuring votes would require a 2/3rds majority to pass, and Renault owns 43% of Nissan’s shares.
As it seems counterproductive for anyone to vote against reforms to prevent corporate fraud, Nissan took it as deliberate retaliation for their lack of support for the FCA merger.
And now we’re being told that the alliance between Renault and Nissan might be coming to an end. The Financial Times quotes sources within both companies that says the CEO office that oversees the day-to-day operations of the alliance are being dismantled, while other shared alliance departments such as light commercial vehicles, sales, and marketing are seeing huge layoffs.
According to the report, some alliance functions are "slated for closure, while others are simply ignored."
So far, Nissan and Renault haven’t offered any comment, but the writing is on the wall.