The global alliance between Renault, Nissan, and Mitsubishi are reportedly strained following the failed merger between Renault and Fiat Chrysler.
Last week, Fiat Chrysler abruptly walked away from merger negotiations with French carmaker Renault. Blaming France, FCA said that the French government’s conditions for the merger were too difficult to meet and it was no longer interested in trying to negotiate with various stakeholders.
However, while France received the bulk of the blame, sources close to the company say that Nissan may have also played a part. Rather than support the merger, Nissan abstained from the board vote. Everyone took this to mean that Nissan was actually against the merger and unlikely to be happy with the new partner in the global alliance.
Renault might not be too happy about Nissan’s lack of support and could be taking revenge in a very corporate way.
Nissan’s former Chairman and CEO, Carlos Ghosn, is currently awaiting trial in Tokyo on a number of corruption charges. Part of the reason Ghosn was able to get away with his financial malfeasance for so long was due to Nissan’s corporate structure which isolated the office of the CEO from the rest of the company. That gave Ghosn plenty of opportunity for corporate skullduggery, which he allegedly performed on the regular.
Following Ghosn’s arrest, Nissan proposed a number of reforms to their corporate structure to mitigate the threat of future CEO’s capability to commit fraud. To get those changes passed, Nissan would need a two-thirds majority of the board to vote in favor at their next board meeting.
Renault, who owns 43% of Nissan’s voting shares, has just told Nissan they will now be voting against the reforms after previously stating they support it. Despite the fact that these reforms were made to prevent millions of dollars from being siphoned away from the company by corporate crooks.
It seems obvious that this is a short-sighted act of retaliation for Nissan’s role in the scrapped merger. What this might mean for the future of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance is mostly uncertain, but if this tension continues, a dissolution of the three-way partnership wouldn’t be entirely unexpected.