Renault and Nissan will not be merging anytime soon, according to alliance chairman Carlos Ghosn.
Last March, we reported that French carmaker Renault and Japanese automotive giant Nissan were exploring the possibility of an expanded partnership, up to and including an actual merging the companies. The two automakers are already part of the largest automotive alliance in the world, Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, and a merger would further strengthen those bonds while simultaneously creating a titan in the automotive industry.
However, both Renault and Nissan are prized companies within their respective countries. With so much national identity wrapping both carmakers, it seemed an impossible task to get either government to provide their blessing with a wider merger.
On top of that, the French government holds a controlling interest in Renault, which would require the French to sell their shares in order for a merger to proceed. Similarly, Renault owns a controlling stake in Nissan, which would likewise require them to sell their shares before a merger could happen. Neither possibility seems likely in the current political climate.
One idea was to instead have both Nissan and Mitsubishi become wholly owned subsidiaries of Renault, however, alliance chairman and Renault CEO shot down that idea at Mitsubishi’s annual shareholder conference.
“Anybody who will ask Nissan and Mitsubishi to become wholly owned subsidiaries of Renault has zero chance of getting a result,” Ghosn told shareholders, according to Reuters.
Instead, Ghosn recommended that the alliance “work together ... to find a system by which what we have today, which is working very well, can continue in the future no matter who is leading the alliance.”
Ghosn, 64, has chaired the three-member alliance since its formation in 1999. He is coming up on retirement with many shareholders concerned for the alliance’s future without his leadership. “We need to prove that this is sustainable five years down the road, 10 years down the road, 15 years down the road,” Ghosn added.
Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi were collectively the largest seller of passenger cars in 2017. The alliance allows all three carmakers to save on research and development costs and better compete with automotive giants such as Toyota and Volkswagen. Nissan is set to be a leader in electric car technology, with both Renault and Mitsubishi benefiting from shared platforms.