To "equal position" Behind the scenes of Nissan Renault capital review negotiations February 8, 17:00

“Equal partnerships enable transformation,”

Nissan Motor President Makoto Uchida emphasized the significance of reviewing the capital relationship with France's Renault.

Why did the two companies agree to change the composition of Renault's dominance for more than 20 years to an "equal position"?

Read from behind the scenes of the negotiations and look ahead to the future.

(Economics Department reporter Chikara Yamane Toshin Atmosphere Airi Enoshima)

Nissan and Renault "success example" tie-up Why review?

behind the scenes negotiations

Please also see here

Realizing Nissan's long-cherished wish

Press conference of Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi Motors held on February 6 in London, England.

Nissan President Makoto Uchida, Renault CEO Luca De Meo, and Mitsubishi Motors President Takao Kato, who has a partnership with the two companies, announced that they have officially agreed on a series of negotiations.

The three pillars of the agreement are:

● The three companies will deepen their collaboration in the EV business in Central and South America, India, and Europe ●

 Mitsubishi Motors

, in which Nissan has a maximum 15% stake in the new EV business company established by Renault, will    also consider investing

● Nissan Renault's investment ratio of 15 each

 28% of Renault's Nissan shares will be transferred to a trust company on an

equal basis, and will be

 sold without a fixed deadline.

In particular, aligning the investment ratio of Nissan and Renault at 15% can be said to be a "long-cherished wish" for Nissan, which once threatened "management independence" by Renault due to requests for management integration.

The unbalanced power relationship between the two companies, which began in 1999 with Renault rescuing Nissan from its financial crisis, reached a turning point.

On the other hand, when looking at the content of the alliance individually, some fields that are still under consideration stand out.

I have the impression that specific strategies, including collaboration in EV = electric vehicles, are still in the future, and it can be said that the first priority was to "create a form of agreement."

This was evident in the negotiations that proceeded in the midst of a sudden turnaround.

Negotiations that announced Fuunkyu at the beginning of the year


"Renault has presented a compromise plan. Nissan will also accept it."

In early January, not long after the new year, the following information was suddenly sent from the person concerned.

Until the end of the year, the interviews were difficult due to the handling of Nissan's technology patents.

What concessions did Renault make?

Originally, Renault indicated a policy of separating the EV and engine vehicle businesses into separate companies in order to strengthen its response to the shift to EVs, and asked Nissan to invest in the new company for the EV business.

This investment has been negotiated with a review of the capital relationship, but the new EV company will be the American semiconductor giant "Qualcomm" and the IT giant "Google", and the new engine car company will be a Chinese automobile company. Non-Nissan players, such as manufacturers, were to participate.

For Nissan, if the technologies in which the company has strengths, such as next-generation batteries, autonomous driving, and hybrids, which hold the key to EV competition, are provided to a third party other than Renault, it will lead to technology outflow and pose a threat to business. It could be.

As a result, negotiations stalled between Nissan, which did not want to open its technology patents, and Renault, which wanted to utilize Nissan's technology.

Is the intention of the impatient Renault French government also boosting?

However, Renault took the lead here in the direction of completing the negotiations early.

This year he accepted Nissan's claims and agreed not to provide third parties with the use of some patents, such as hybrids.

Renault believed that investment and technical cooperation from Nissan were essential for the success of the new company in the EV business.

Furthermore, in order to raise funds, the company was aiming to list the new EV company in the second half of this year, so it seems that the circumstances that necessitated the early completion of negotiations with Nissan were significant.

In addition, as the interview progressed, it became clear that the intention of the French government, which is also a major shareholder of Renault, played a role in the progress of the negotiations.

On January 9, French President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Kishida held a summit meeting in Paris. '' he complained.

At the same time, it is said that the French government will accept a review of the capital relationship between the two companies on an equal footing.

After that, the French government sent a letter to the Japanese government approving a review of the capital relationship.

One of the people concerned analyzed that Renault showed a willingness to compromise with Nissan in order to conclude the negotiations as soon as possible, taking into account the intention of the French government.

January 16, a big step towards the agreement

Following Renault's compromise, Nissan's management held a face-to-face meeting to update members of the independent board of directors on the progress of the talks.

The night of January 16th.

Members of the independent outside directors gathered together in a meeting room on the 22nd floor of Nissan's headquarters in Yokohama.

At the conference, some participants again expressed concerns about whether Nissan's competitive technology patents would be leaked to third parties and whether the French government would really allow a review of the capital relationship.

In response, President Uchida, the top executive, and Ashwani Gupta, COO No. 2, explained that the Renault side had presented a concession plan and that the French government had received a letter from the Japanese government. I asked for your understanding on how to proceed.

The exchange of opinions lasted for about two and a half hours, but in the end, most of the independent outside directors who attended were satisfied with the executive's explanation and agreed to proceed with the negotiations.

Nissan executive

"We have also obtained the approval of the outside directors. Nissan's policy will not be overturned anymore."

The two companies entered final negotiations toward a final agreement, and from the following week, lawyers also entered and adjusted the wording for the agreement contract.

“Twist and turn” until the joint statement

However, the negotiations remained unpredictable until the very end.

Source: "We will be able to issue a statement next Monday .


During the interview process, we received information that the two companies will release a joint statement on January 30, 2019, on matters that have been approved through discussions so far.

Therefore, we had completed the confirmation work by the evening of the previous day, the 29th, and at the moment the date changed, we were going to send out a joint statement today.


Several people said,

"We are currently in talks with Renault about several patents. It's not a big deal to break up the negotiations, but we'll have to wait until tomorrow morning to see if we're really going to issue a joint statement. will be decided by

In the end, before noon on the 30th, it was confirmed that a statement would be issued in the afternoon of the same day, and a preliminary announcement was made. It became a shape that symbolizes ness.

“Intention to invest up to 15%” in new EV company

Thus, the negotiations reached a formal agreement.

However, the difficulty of the negotiations could be glimpsed from Nissan's attitude toward Renault's new EV company.

At a press conference, Nissan President Uchida emphasized the aim of investing in the new company.

President Uchida

: "Nissan will create new business opportunities in Europe and enable us to participate in valuable projects."

On the other hand, the investment ratio has a range of "up to 15%".

According to people familiar with the matter, the company did not disclose a specific investment ratio or amount because there were still voices that the new company should be evaluated to see how much it was worth.

Nissan, who seeks an "equal position," and Renault, who seeks "Nissan's investment and technical cooperation," reached this agreement because their respective intentions were in line. It seems that it is still unknown.

Nissan's "wish" expert's view

How do people in the automobile industry view this agreement?

Experts say the future focus will be on what happens to Renault's 28% stake in Nissan.

President Omori

"If Nissan buys back everything, hundreds of billions of yen will be needed, but it will be possible to use this 28% Nissan stock to bring in other strategically necessary partners. Nissan. Renault and Renault will be required to strengthen their alliances through this review of their capital ties and take leadership in industry innovation while more skillfully involving others."

Nissan's "wish" ex-executive?

On the other hand, people who have led Nissan's management for many years have different opinions.

Former Nissan executive

: “It took a long time, but I think we have resolved the long-standing issues in a good way. The true value will be questioned.”

Another former executive

said, ``There may be a background that the significance of Nissan's existence in Renault has decreased in this review of the capital relationship. Nissan has enjoyed the benefits of improved management efficiency through the alliance for more than 20 years. However, it is important for us to continue to deepen our partnership with Renault in order to survive in the future.The management will be required to explain carefully what and how this agreement will lead to."

How do you survive?

A once-in-a-century period of change

For Nissan, it was an agreement that paved the way for achieving its 20-year long-cherished wish. In the automobile industry, a new dimension of competition involving other industries is intensifying.

In that sense, with this agreement, Nissan has finally reached the starting line of the competition.

Nissan, Renault, and Mitsubishi Motors once showed their presence as the world's second largest group in terms of sales volume, but now their sales volume has decreased significantly.

In addition, Nissan was the first in the world to introduce mass-produced EVs to the market and has led this field, but now it has been overtaken by emerging manufacturers such as Tesla in the United States in terms of sales volume, and its presence is declining. .

Whether or not Nissan can survive in the increasingly fierce global competition will have a major impact on the entire Japanese automobile industry, which has many business partners and employees.

Therefore, it is necessary to formulate a concrete strategy as soon as possible and implement it.


Tsutomu Yamane

Joined in 2007

Current position after working at Matsue and Kobe stations

Economics Department Reporter

Toma Joined Atmosphere

in 2013

After working at Okinawa Bureau and Yamaguchi Bureau, current position

Economy Department Reporter

Airi Enoshima Joined

in 2017

Current position after working at the Hiroshima Bureau