Nissan and Renault reaffirm alliance

Renault-Nissan logo

Though the talks about Nissan chairmanship were avoided

Top executives from Nissan and Renault on Thursday reaffirmed the necessity of an alliance that has been pressured by removal of former Chairman Carlos Ghosn, but avoided discussing the potentially controversial issue of Nissan’s next chairman.

The recently appointed chairman of France’s Renault SA, Jean-Dominique Senard, travelled to Japan on Thursday for two days of meetings with Nissan. There is a speculation about the future of the alliance, and if Senard himself would be the next chairman of the Japanese automaker.

Some in Japan see the alliance as unequal. But experts say the three-way tie-up, which also consists smaller automaker Mitsubishi Motors, is required to compete better with competitors such as Volkswagen and Toyota Motor.

Senard’s visit is the first by Renault’s top brass following the arrest of Ghosn in Tokyo in November over accusations of financial misbehavior. The downfall of one of the world’s well-known executives has surprised the global auto industry and boosted tension between Renault and Nissan Motor Co.

Senard met Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa and Mitsubishi’s Osamu Masuko for talks that lasted almost two hours, Masuko informed reporters outside his home late on Thursday. The three confirmed the importance of the alliance, Masuko stated.

Separately, Saikawa informed reporters that they did not discuss about the issues related to the chairmanship of Nissan, or a full merger between the two automakers, signaling that the talks were more mundane.

“There were some operational issues we needed to discuss, so that was the focus of our conversation,” Saikawa stated.

Some Nissan executives have long been dissatisfied with what they view as Renault’s outsized influence over larger Nissan. Renault controls 43 percent in Nissan while the Japanese automaker, in turn, controls a 15 percent, non-voting stake in the French company.

Upon his visit in Japan, Senard seemingly avoid putting strain on the alliance, informing reporters that it was not the time to talk whether he would also take over as chairman of Nissan, Japan’s Jiji news agency noted.

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