Speaking publicly for the first since fleeing from Japan at the end of the last year, Ghosn informed reporters in Beirut, Lebanon’s capital, that he had been in negotiations with John Elkann, a member of Fiat’s owning family, when he was active in the automotive industry.
“In 2017, the alliance was the number one automotive group. Three companies growing, profitable. We were preparing to include Fiat Chrysler to the group because I was negotiating with John Elkann for Fiat Chrysler to join,” Ghosn said.
“I had contact with FCA. We had a lot of understanding, we have very good dialogue. Unfortunately, I was arrested before we could reach a conclusion,” Ghosn stated, adding that a meeting had been planned for January 2019 to try to reach a deal.
Renault-Nissan continues to see management turmoil ever since Ghosn’s arrest in Tokyo in November 2018 on accusations of financial misconduct, which he rejects. He was awaiting trial in Japan when he escaped to Lebanon.
Evidently, Fiat Chrysler and Renault did announce a $35 billion plan to merge in 2019, when Ghosn was in Japan, but the Fiat Chrysler pulled out from the deal.
The Renault-Nissan alliance continue to deal with a hard time since the collapse of the deal, which would have created the third biggest automaker behind Volkswagen and Toyota.
“The alliance missed the unmissable, which is Fiat Chrysler. That is unbelievable, they go with PSA. How can you miss that huge opportunity to become the dominant player in the industry?” Ghosn stated. “Who is the winner of all this?”
“It’s a great opportunity for PSA, it’s a big waste for Renault,” added Ghosn.