TOKYO – Renault and Nissan reaffirmed on Tuesday an alliance between the two created 20 years ago but maintained their differences regarding taking it to another level with a merger.
The issue came up during a shareholders meeting for Nissan Motor, held in Yokohama, south of the Japanese capital Tokyo, days after the two firms held antagonistic positions about an issue scheduled for Tuesday.
Renault had announced it would abstain from voting to elect three new board committees, which would have left the proposed changes short of the two-thirds majority needed to pass, as the French firm holds a 43.4 percent stake in Nissan.
But a subsequent negotiation between Renault and Nissan resulted in the reformulation of the members of the committees to give greater weight to the former, and with the votes of the French automaker, the reform secured the required number of votes.
However, from the positions that Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard and Nissan President Hiroto Saikawa defended before shareholders, emerged a fresh possibility of this alliance turning into a merger.
This option was advocated by former chairman of Renault and Nissan Motor, Carlos Ghosn, but after his exit from both firms – owing to his arrest in Tokyo for alleged financial irregularities –, Senard does not consider it a priority.
“This project in its time was incredible beneficiary to Nissan. It would have been a wonderful project for Nissan and the alliance,” underlined Senard when a shareholder asked him his views about the merger, adding that had the deal gone through it would have been beneficial for the alliance.
The Nissan management has maintained its reservations over this possible merger, while Saikawa stressed that in the current set-up both parties in the alliance respected one another’s independence and they would continue with the same attitude.