In an industry full of acquisitions and alliances, the ties that bind Renault and Nissan are unique. But they could give way to a more comprehensive merger, if the latest reports prove accurate and talks between the two bear fruit.
According to Bloomberg, Carlos Ghosn is pushing for an outright merger between the French and Japanese automakers he heads. The two already share a close corporate alliance, but have stopped short until now of fully integrating.
The merger would turn the two separate companies into one of the largest automakers in the world. Renault and Nissan sold 10.6 million vehicles between them (and their various brands) last year. That’s more than the 10.4 million that Toyota sold, and just behind Volkswagen’s 10.7 million. Ghosn aims to increase the alliance’s sales to 14 million by 2022, now just four years away.
The Brazilian-born Lebanese-French executive serves as chairman of Renault, Nissan, Mitsubishi, and Russian carmaker AvtoVAZ. He also directly manages Renault and Mitsubishi as CEO of both. The Bloomberg report doesn’t speculate on how Mitsubishi and AvtoVAZ would factor into the new entity, however Nissan is currently Mitsubishi’s largest shareholder, and Renault owns a majority of AvtoVAZ parent Rostec. Both Nissan and Renault have other brands under their respective umbrellas as well, including Infiniti, Datsun, Alpine, Dacia, and Renault Samsung Motors.
Both Renault’s and Nissan’s shareholders would ostensibly receive shares in the merged entity should the move go forward as planned. But the biggest hurdle may be convincing the French government to water down its stake. The Republic owns 15 percent of Renault – slightly more than its 13.68-percent stake in the rival PSA group (which runs the Peugeot, Citroën, DS, Opel, and Vauxhall brands) and is headed by Ghosn’s former top lieutenant Carlos Tavares.