Carlos Ghosn exit must not affect Nissan-Renault alliance, says Japan

Trade minister calls for alliance to remain stable and hopes companies can begin talks

Japan’s trade minister has said the carmaking alliance between Nissan and Renault must continue after the final departure of the companies’ former chairman and chief executive, Carlos Ghosn.

Ghosn led both companies until his arrest in November shook the global car industry and cast a shadow over the partnership, one of the world’s largest carmakers. He resigned from Renault on Thursday.

Under the unusual cross-shareholding structure of the alliance, France’s Renault is the dominant partner despite Nissan contributing more profits.

The future of the alliance is politically important in Japan, where it includes Nissan as well as Mitsubishi, and in France, where the government holds a 15% stake in Renault.

Hiroshige Seko, the Japanese trade minister, called on Friday for the alliance to remain stable. He said he had met France’s finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, but that they had not held any talks on the alliance.

“We think a stable Nissan-Renault alliance must continue. We hope the executives of the two companies can engage in fruitful discussions,” Seko told reporters at the World Economic Forum in Davos – a gathering previously frequented by Ghosn.

The arrest of Ghosn, after Nissan reported him to Japanese authorities for allegedly understating his income, had threatened to disrupt the alliance in which the charismatic French-Lebanese-Brazilian served as a figurehead. Nissan and Mitsubishi removed Ghosn after the arrest, but Renault refused until Ghosn’s eventual resignation. Ghosn remains in detention with little prospect of imminent release.

Renault announced on Thursday it would split Ghosn’s role into two, appointing the outgoing Michelin boss, Jean-Dominique Senard, as chairman and Thierry Bolloré as chief executive.

The Renault board has asked Senard to manage negotiations with Nissan and Mitsubishi over the alliance. Nissan’s chief executive, Hiroto Saikawa, has suggested the alliance should be rebalanced.


Jasper Jolly

The GuardianTramp

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