New York (AFP)
Nissan and Renault are currently negotiating an overhaul of their historic alliance to possibly reopen the door to negotiations with Italian automaker Fiat, the Wall Street Journal said Friday.
According to the American business daily, which relies on sources close to the record and e-mails exchanged between the two companies, Nissan would like that Renault, which owns 43% of the Japanese group, reduce its stake.
Nissan, for its part, owns only 15% of Renault and has no voting rights.
Rebalancing the relationship between the two companies could help ease some of the tension and thus relieve Nissan's reluctance to merge with Fiat Chrysler.
In the absence of explicit support from Nissan, talks on a wedding to form the world's number three car industry failed in early June.
If negotiations on a change in cross-shareholdings between Renault and Nissan are still at a preliminary stage, they could reach an agreement in September, says the Wall Street Journal based on an email dated July 12.
Any development would however be subject to the green light of the French State, which holds 15% of the capital of Renault. And such approval is not obvious: traveling to Tokyo in late June, President Emmanuel Macron had refused to consider a change in the current capitalist scheme.
While the Franco-Japanese partnership is weakened by the ousting of its builder Carlos Ghosn, the boss of Nissan Hiroto Saikawa had a few days earlier opened the door to a recovery of this 20-year alliance.
Asked by AFP, Nissan did not want to "comment on speculation", while Renault as Bercy said "do not comment on rumors".
On the occasion of the publication of the results of the French group at the end of July, its managing director Thierry Bolloré had assured that the project of merger with Fiat Chrysler (FCA) aborted in the spring was no longer relevant. "We do not talk to FCA," he said.
FCA boss Mike Manley, for his part estimated Wednesday that the marriage with Renault would have represented "a great opportunity" thanks to the "very important synergies" it would have generated.
While affirming that Fiat could survive alone, he also stressed that his group remained open to opportunities.
© 2019 AFP