Thursday , June 17 2021

Renault-Nissan: live after Carlos Ghosn



After two months of chaos, the Renault-Nissan alliance turned Ghosn's page. The promise of tranquility, but also the beginning of complicated discussions about their future, including the role of the French state.

According to experts, the main obstacle lies in the interruption of the French government, very badly perceived in Japan. In order to "restore confidence", "there is only one solution, the French state is reducing its share" in Renault, which is 15.01%, just before Nissan (even if it has no vote). Or, at least, that he stands back, says Takaki Nakanishi, an industry analyst in Tokyo. "In Japan, at Nissan, but also by the bureaucrats, public opinion, the strong interruption of the French government is in trouble," he insists, asking Renault to play an "important role" in order to solve this problem. Gaëtan Toulemonde, an automatic analyst for Deutsche Bank, agrees. "Let's not forget Volvo for more than 20 years." The marriage relocated for the French state, "whose leaders were considered arrogant by the Swedish maker, he remembers.

In mid-January a French delegation visit revived jealousy. According to several Japanese media, she called on the Japanese authorities to think about integrating the two manufacturers.

The predicted tracks

"The fusion is not today on the table," denied the French economy minister, Bruno Mayor. He acknowledged, however, that the project was one of the avenues to strengthen the alliance. Nissan has never hidden his hostility to such a scene, fearing to be under the rule of Paris. "If Renault deals with Nissan at the same footsteps and limits government influence, the alliance can believe in his future," said Janet Lewis, a specialist specialist at Macquarie Capital Securities. But to "find a form of serenity", "open a new chapter", because the will is expressed on both sides on Thursday, we will have to recover the links.

The surprise of arrest on November 19 in Japan, the alliance builder, who is now 20 years old, Carlos Ghosn, due to alleged financial leaders, has revealed a delay. The group of diamonds hesitated to share with their CEO, while Nissan was accused of "conspiracy". After weeks of "difficult communication," Nissan leader Hiroto Saikawa spoke to Renault's new president, Jean-Dominique Senard, whom he praised. Before the press on Thursday, Saikawa spoke of his hope for an alliance "respecting each of his members". "There is no question of who has more or no actions," he insisted. In other words, it is not because Renault owns 43% of Nissan that he must impose his views. Especially, since the Japanese manufacturer is now a heavy pair.

Divorce difficult or impossible

"Marriage can only work if both sides are content," says Lewis. Renault came to the rescue of Nissan in 1999 when the Japanese main team was away from bankruptcy, giving birth to "unprecedented success". "But the companies have evolved over time: Nissan today is very different from the company Renault has invested, and Renault should be ready to change its working relationship to reflect what Nissan brings," said the analyst.

And to mention its technology forces and its strong presence in North America, China and Southeast Asia, through Mitsubishi Motors, the third organization in a group that rose in 2017 to the world's top. Mr. Senard said: "We can not be alone, so the alliance is absolutely essential" because the industry changes at a high speed, in favor of electric, connected and independent vehicles.

Analysts all agree that divorce seems difficult, if impossible. "It lasted 20 years to reach it, it will last 20 years to get rid of everything," warns Takaki Nakanishi. The two partners have no choice but to continue their trip together, he continues, placing in his place the annoying French state. But Renault, with its history, its model models (4CV Clio and Twingo) occupies a special place in the Hexagon. "I want the French to know: it is not a day that goes beyond that we do not follow the situation of Renault and the alliance," said the Mayor.

As a regional press editor wrote yesterday, "Renault is at the car, which was Johnny (Hallyday) at the song. National common good.

Anne BÉADE / AFP

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