Negotiations have begun between France and Japan at ministerial level on automotive technology cooperation to smooth out conflicts between Nissan and Renault automakers and help strengthen cooperation, Automotive News reported Tuesday.
Both governments confirmed in a statement that Hiroshige Seko, the Japanese Minister of Economic Affairs and Trade, and Bruno Le Maire, the French Minister of Finance, had given a telephone conversation to support cooperation between the two car companies. In addition, ministers discussed strengthening technology cooperation between the two countries in the areas of electric mobility, battery manufacturing and autonomous navigation vehicles.
According to internal sources aware of the intentions of the two car companies, both companies are working to restore cooperation after the arrest of former CEO Carlos Ghosn in November last year, which interrupted more than two decades of continuity and removal from both companies. At the same time, the aim is to place cooperation on new foundations that will provide greater autonomy. Which, for example, would allow Renault to resume merger negotiations with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA).
Officials from Nissan, Renault and Fiat Chrysler did not comment on the newsletter.
FCA and Renault merger negotiations stalled in June as Renault failed to secure Nissan’s support and the French government did not give its approval to the representatives on Renault’s board of directors. But the Wall Street Journal reported last month that Renault and Nissan were negotiating to balance their cross-ownership. Renault has a 43% voting share in Nissan and a 15% non-voting share in Renault. According to internal sources, Renault would be prepared to reduce its share.
Together with the later Mitsubishi car company, the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi trio last year produced 10.8 million vehicles. If there was only one company, the cooperation would be the world’s second largest car manufacturer behind the Volkswagen group, ahead of Japan’s Japan.