Renault, Nissan, Mitsubishi reaffirm backing to alliance
Automakers Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi reaffirmed their committment to their alliance yesterday as company leaders held their first meeting since the shock arrest of boss Carlos Ghosn. “We remain fully committed to the Alliance,” the three firms said in a joint statement as Ghosn remains in custody in Japan on allegations of financial misconduct. The talismanic Ghosn was seen as the glue binding together a complex three-way structure which counts as the world’s top-selling auto company, with some 10.6 million vehicles rolling off the production lines last year.
His arrest revealed brewing resentment and unrest within the Franco-Japanese partnership. Nissan chief executive Nissan Hiroto Saikawa, Renault’s interim boss Thierry Bollore and Mitsuibishi’s Osamu Masuko conversed via video, sources and the Nikkei daily reported. Issues of governance were not meant to be raised in the meeting and no vote was planned, the sources told AFP. In their joint statement on Thursday, the three firms said their “alliance has achieved unparalleled success in the past two decades”. The leaders of the three companies also sent an internal message that reassures employees that the alliance remains on track.
“We owe you this expression of cohesion and commitment to the Alliance today more than ever” said the statement, according to a copy consulted by AFP. “We are in close touch with each other and with our key stakeholders. All have expressed strong support and a shared desire to maintain our winning combination,” it added. Renault is the dominant member of the alliance, holding 43 percent of the shares in Nissan, but the Japanese firm now outsells its French counterpart -- sparking frustration in Tokyo.
French Finance minister Bruno Le Maire on Tuesday warned that there was no question of a change in the balance of power between Renault, which is 15 percent owned by the French state, and its Japanese partners. The rules of the alliance, based in the Netherlands, state that Renault and Nissan appoint five board members each but it is the French company which names the CEO while Nissan chooses the deputy. The CEO holds a decisive vote in the case of a tie in board decisions.