Renault and Nissan hold daily debate as EVs reshape alliance

The chairman of Renault SA said he was optimistic about the Japanese automaker’s partnership with Nissan Motor.

Renault SA’s chairman said he is optimistic about the alliance with Japan’s Nissan Motor Co. as negotiations to reshape the 20-year partnership strained by the disproportionate ownership structure intensify.

“We talk every day,” Jean-Dominique Senard said at the Paris Auto Show on Monday, adding that representatives of Nissan and smaller partner Mitsubishi Motors Corp. are now in France. “We have an incredibly close relationship.”

Renault’s drive to split its electric vehicle and internal combustion engine businesses (a plan that requires Nissan’s consent) has prompted negotiations on a joint project. The bid also provided an opportunity to update the alliance’s cross-stakes structure, a measure that could alleviate the imbalance that has been a source of friction for years.

Nissan is willing to invest $750 million in Renault’s electric vehicle business, Bloomberg reported last week. In return, the French manufacturer could reduce Nissan’s ownership to 15% over time. Renault currently owns a 43% stake in its larger voting partner, while Nissan owns a 15% stake in Renault with no voting rights.

Renault was up 3.4% in Paris as of 1:34pm.

The discussion has intensified in recent weeks as Renault draws closer to November 8th Capital Markets Day. On this day, CEO Luca de Meo will briefly explain the strategy to investors. Management discussed Renault’s carveout plans and the future of the alliance at meetings in France and Japan starting in February. Senard said representatives from Renault will return to Japan soon.

Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi announced their €23 billion ($22.4 billion) electrification plan in January, suggesting that the partnership could be sustainable in the face of a costly and complex transition in internal combustion engines.

All decisions Renault makes must also be approved by the French government, which owns about 15% of the car company.

“We are very close and transparent with the French government,” Senard told reporters about the alliance talks.

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