Nissan accelerates plan to split with Renault, reports suggest

14 January 2020 - autocar

Nissan accelerates plan to split with Renault, reports suggest

Financial Times reports senior Nissan executives are pushing forward a secret plan to engineer Alliance split after Carlos Ghosn’s escape from custody in Japan

Nissan is reportedly pushing through a secret plan to split itself from Alliance partner Renault as the fallout from Carlos Ghosn's downfall continues.

The Financial Times cites several sources reporting senior executives are formulating a contingency plan in which they would negotiate a total divide between the two brands in engineering and manufacturing departments. This has reportedly accelerated since Ghosn fled charges of financial misconduct in Japan late last year.

Changes to Nissan's board would also follow as a map to a potential split is drawn out. Efforts have recently been made to improve relations on both side, but the Financial Times reports the partnership - which produces 10 million cars annually - has soured. Many executives at the Japanese firm believe Renault is a drag on its success.

A split would likely result in both makers forging partnerships elsewhere in order to maintain competitiveness in the face of rising research and development costs and falling sales. It would come at the worst time as new alliances, such as Fiat Chrysler (with whom Renault unsuccessfully attempted to merge last year) and PSA and Volkswagen and Ford, form lucrative relationships.

Renault chairman Jean-Dominique Senard is said to be revealing several combined projects in coming weeks to show that the Alliance is still on good terms, but people within Nissan claim his efforts to present unification badly misread the general mood of workers.

A split would mark the end of nearly two decades of co-operation. At a press conference after he left Japan, Ghosn claimed Nissan executives had co-ordinated with the Japanese government to orchestrate his arrest because they were unhappy with Renault's more significant voting rights on decisions within the Alliance, of which he led the creation in 1999.

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