It seems that reviving merger talks between automotive giants Renault and FCA will depend on overcoming at least two major hurdles: repairing Renault’s relationship with Nissan and the willingness of the French state to reduce its stake in its home automaker.
Autonews Europe reports that the French government agreeing to give up its sway over Renault would be necessary in order for merger talks to be revived.
France could for example agree to reduce its 15% stake after obtaining commitments by FCA on French jobs and plants, according to sources who wished to remain anonymous.
Despite failed talks, Renault, FCA and France have left the door open for a possible deal as all entities brace for the costly changes that are about to sweep through the industry, such as the development of electric and autonomous technologies and infrastructures.
“The project remains, in my head, absolutely remarkable and exceptional,” Renault chairman Jean-Dominique Senard said.
Meanwhile, FCA is still “firmly convinced of the compelling transformational rationale” of its proposal, whereas French finance minister Bruno Le Maire said a merger is an “interesting opportunity” and that talks could resume once Renault’s alliance with Nissan is strengthened.
Last week, FCA CEO Mike Manley reportedly met with Renault executives in Paris in order to kick start new talks, according to Il Sole 24 Ore, which cites people familiar with the matter.
Perhaps the most promising development was the French finance minister confirming that the state would consider cutting its Renault holding in order to help strengthen the alliance with Nissan. On its part, the Japanese automaker is also willing to accept its partner’s demands for more representation on its board committees.
Even so, strengthening the alliance is likely to take time, especially after everything that happened with the arrest of Carlos Ghosn back in November and the ensuing saga, which is far from over.