Nissan, Renault launch ‘rebalanced’ alliance

French automaker Renault and Japanese partner Nissan officially launched their “rebalanced” alliance on Wednesday as they seek to reset a rocky 24-year-old partnership.

The companies announced an agreement in February to put their partnership, which also includes Japanese automaker Mitsubishi, on an equal footing, with Renault giving up its dominant position.

“After having obtained all required regulatory approvals, the New Alliance Agreement between Renault Group and Nissan comes today into force,” the companies said in a joint statement.

“This is a very important step for Renault Group, Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors,” the chairman of the alliance, Jean-Dominique Senard, said in the statement.

He said the deal “lays the foundations for a new fair, long-standing and effective partnership that will create value for each Alliance member and for all our stakeholders”.

The partnership began in 1999, when Renault rescued Nissan from bankruptcy. Mitsubishi Motors joined in 2016, with Nissan taking a 34-percent stake in its struggling Japanese rival.But tensions erupted in 2015 when the French state increased its stake in Renault. This was later reduced and an agreement was reached to cap the government’s ability to interfere in the alliance’s affairs.

The union was shaken again in 2018 with the arrest of Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn in Japan.

Ghosn, who was sacked and fled to Lebanon to avoid prosecution in 2019, claimed the charges against him were intended to prevent him from bringing the Japanese and French automakers closer together.

New era’
In Wednesday’s statement, the companies said the new alliance “lays the foundations for a new balanced, fair, and effective governance”.

As part of the deal, Renault reduced its stake in the Japanese automaker from 43.4 percent to 15 percent, the same size as Nissan’s share in its French counterpart.

The voting rights of Renault and Nissan are capped at 15 percent, the statement said.

Nissan announced earlier this year it would investment 600 million euros ($640 million) in Renault’s new electric vehicle venture, Ampere, though the amount was smaller than Renault had hoped. Mitsubishi is pouring 200 million euros into Ampere.

“We are now effectively entering this new era of the Alliance with a pragmatic and business-oriented approach,” Renault chief executive Luca de Meo said on Wednesday.

Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida said: “Based on this equal footing, Nissan will continue to harness our core competencies and be more agile to explore further growth opportunities that support our business strategy”.

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