Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance Seeks 'New Start'

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

A meeting rumored to be targeted at developing a new board to oversee the Renault-Mitsubishi-Nissan Alliance took place earlier this week at Nissan’s global headquarters, sans Carlos Ghosn, with the automakers agreeing to a consensus-based governing strategy. At the heart of this pact is the need to diffuse tensions between France and Japan.

If you’ll recall, Nissan had grown perturbed by its perceived lack of autonomy within the alliance and repeated merger talk coming from Ghosn prior to his arrest. The man himself claimed that the corporate conflict is ultimately what led to his undoing — suggesting Nissan’s CEO simply wanted him out of the picture before he was fired.

It seems Japan got what it wanted at the meeting, with Jean-Dominique Senard (Ghosn’s replacement at Renault) saying the alliance would persist largely unchanged. Modifications to the agreement were limited to providing Nissan with more freedoms, quicker decision making, and the establishment of a new Alliance Operating Board. Meanwhile, everyone avoided answering questions about the alliance’s defamed architect.

According to Automotive News, the new board will be comprised of Renault CEO Thierry Bollore, Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa, Mitsubishi CEO Osamu Masuko, with Senard serving as chair. Executives framed the decision as part of a “new start” for alliance whose members found themselves increasingly at odds with each other.

“For the alliance, this memorandum of understanding is a big new step,” Saikawa said. “This is a true partnership on equal footing… It’s a win, win, win approach based on consensus.”

“We want to enhance the spirit of this alliance and recreate the spirit the way it was at the very beginning of this alliance at the end of the 90s,” explained Senard. “That is an alliance that is based on the total balance and fast decision-making process, totally respectful of the cultures of our companies, respectful of our brands.”

From Automotive News:

A key priority of the overhaul is to speed decision making on joint projects, the executives said. Saikawa said the alliance lost slowed down on product as it increasingly obsessed about convergence, the alliance term for merging operations in a quest for cost savings.

“We were too much focused on convergence. People should have been more focused on project,” Saikawa said. “We want to change the speed of our operations.”

Alliance business will now be streamlined by organizing operations around so-called projects headed by one person across all companies. That person will report directly to the board.

The companies did not offer further details about who would lead what projects.

The new board will be the final word on all alliance business decisions, superseding the Netherlands-based Renault-Nissan BV and Nissan-Mitsubishi BV that now find themselves embroiled in the alleged financial misdeeds of alliance founder Carlos Ghosn. Since the scandal broke, all three automakers have tried to distance themselves from the strategic management firms. (Renault-Nissan BV has been under investigation since last month.)

“If this alliance shows what it promises, it’s going to be absolutely unique in the world,” Senard said. “The world will be surprised by the strength of this coming together.”

Currently, these decisions are only held together by a series of handshakes via a memorandum of understanding. However, formal agreements are expected to be signed in conjunction with the alliance’s March 27th anniversary.

[Image: Nissan]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Sceptic Sceptic on Mar 14, 2019

    Somehow I feel that this alliance will be in serious trouble after ousting Ghosn. Despite his shortcomings he was a brilliant executive for them. Will these four men be able to lead? Doubtful.

  • Schmitt trigger Schmitt trigger on Mar 14, 2019

    Does anyone feel that,this empire very likely will dissolve because the remaining chieftains will start quarreling among themselves?

    • Tagbert Tagbert on Mar 15, 2019

      I think the guy on the right is thinking that right now, judging by his expression.

  • SaulTigh When I was young in the late 80's one of my friends had the "cool dad." You know the guy, first to buy a Betamax and a C-band satellite dish. Couple of stand up arcade games in the den. Bought my friend an Atari 2600 as soon as they came out. He had two of these crap heaps. One that only ran half the time and one for parts in the yard. My middle school brain though he was the most awesome dad ever, buying us pizza and letting us watch R rated movies recorded on free HBO weekend. At the time I though he was much better than my boring father.Now with adult hindsight, I now know he was "dad who should have taken better care of his family" and not had so many toys.
  • Dave Has to be Indy 500. Many more leaders and front passes than NASCAR, and Monaco is unwatchable with the inability to pass on that circuit.
  • Jeff How did the discussion get from an article about a 56 billion dollar pay package for Elon Musk to a proposal to charge a per mile tax on EVs in California or paying increase registration on vehicles to make up for lost gas tax revenue? I thought such a discussion would better fit Matt's Gas Wars series.
  • Master Baiter Both people who bought ID.4s will be interested in this post.
  • Urlik Not a single memorable thing happened in the big three races this weekend IMHO.