By on September 25, 2019

While the proposed merger between Renault and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles was stymied after the French government refused to sign off on the deal without support from Renault’s Japanese partners, Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard has indicated he’s still keen on the idea.

Nissan’s reluctance to endorse the arrangement last June may have queered the deal, but things are evolving. The Japanese automaker has strived to reduce Renault’s influence in the automotive alliance, especially since the November arrest of Carlos Ghosn. Unfortunately for Nissan, ex-CEO Hiroto Saikawa was also caught up in the financial scandal — forcing him to resign. The Japanese automaker is now seeking a permanent replacement while CFO Yasuhiro Yamauchi runs things in the interim.

While it’s unlikely to make Japanese shareholders supportive of French involvement, it does provide an opportunity for Nissan to find a new chief executive who’s a bit more sympathetic to Renault’s desires. 

“[If a FCA merger proposal] were to come back under conditions that are acceptable for all, I would be delighted,” Senard told French officials on Tuesday. The chairman also confirmed that no such deal is being discussed, according to Bloomberg.

While Fiat Chrysler remains pretty quiet on the issue, it’s widely known that it’s seeking to partner with another automaker. The current situation may make Renault less palatable but that doesn’t necessarily have to be true in the future. Hiroshige Seko, the economy and trade minister of Japan, and Bruno Le Maire, France’s finance minister, have already indicated that it’s in the countries’ best interests to restore the alliance — emphasizing fairness. Earlier this month, the pair announced a cooperative agreement for the countries to work together on advanced automotive technologies.

“The two ministers reaffirmed their strong support for the Nissan-Renault alliance and discussed the two companies’ discussions to strengthen the alliance’s competitiveness,” explained the joint statement.

Renault may press Nissan’s next leader to endorse the previously proposed merger with FCA. The hard part will be ensuring that Saikawa’s replacement is inclined to listen. The CEO search has been going on since July, with the final decision expected to take place in October. With Senard already on the six-member nominating committee, there’s an opportunity to get someone that’s sympathetic to Renault’s goals.

This will not be CEO’s primary concern, however. Nissan needs to turn its financial situation around immediately — and this issue will take precedence over ensuring the automaker’s autonomy within the alliance or doing partner members any favors. The Japanese firm also wants to equalize the cross-shareholdings that favor the French side of the alliance while minimizing the involvement of the French government. Nissan currently holds a 15-percent stake in Renault with no voting rights, while Renault has 43 percent of the Japanese company, with votes.

Takaki Nakanishi, president of the Tokyo-based Nakanishi Research Institute, expressed fears that Nissan’s next CEO could face insurmountable obstacles due to being stretched in so many different directions. “I have doubts about whether the nominating committee can carry out its function properly,” he said.

[Image: Renault]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

4 Comments on “Renault Chairman Still Carries a Torch for FCA Merger...”

  • avatar

    Jun Seki will make an excellent CEO. I’ve worked beside and for Jun Seki and found him to be a man of faithfulness to his subordinates and to the company. He is levelheaded and allows data and common sense to drive his decisions. There appears to be many significant bumps in the road for Nissan in the coming months and years; however, Jun Seki can and will navigate through these challenges and make Nissan a strong and successful company once again!

  • avatar

    Speaking of carrying a torch, if FCA is still thinking about adding more fuel to this dumpster fire they need their heads examined.

  • avatar

    Another honcho intent on empire building. FCA would bring precious little to Nissan/Renault.

  • avatar

    I seem to recall that the French government was seeking guarantees that operations in France would be fully maintained, and other assurances that there would be no negative impact on France, which FCA and Renault regarded as excessive. I do not recall that the French government had any concern for Nissan’s views on anything. I could be mistaken, of course.

    Speaking of mistaken, “(he) has strived” is simply not part of the English language. One can say “he strove” or “he has striven”.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • Superdessucke: Opposite direction of what needs to be done. Bring back the d’Elegance and Biarritz. This...
  • Superdessucke: Well, that’s eventually going to happen. China not taking dollars. But what does going to war...
  • dal20402: Obviously better for that but it didn’t come as a 335is :)
  • dal20402: If you ask the Taiwanese if they want to join the PRC, they will give you the loudest “NO”...
  • Lou_BC: LOL

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Jo Borras
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber