There’s been quite a bit of the old “he said, she said” as the global trade war between developed nations coalesces. Germany has not covered U.S. President Donald Trump’s trade policy favorably, not that it has much reason to. His new tariffs on imported steel and aluminum has tested relationships with numerous countries and, while it isn’t the biggest exporter of metal to the United States, Germany has something to lose. Likewise, proposed duties on passenger vehicles have sincerely rubbed Deutschland the wrong way.
However, the issue was further complicated this week after a gossipy report surfaced claiming Trump told French President Emmanuel Macron in April that he would continue hampering the European auto manufacturers until there are no Mercedes-Benz vehicles driving in America.
Carlos Ghosn is pledging to solidify the alliance between Renault, Nissan, and Mitsubishi Motors after agreeing to stay on as the French automaker’s chairman and CEO for the next four years. He also announced the companies will take the next few weeks to develop a plan to “make the alliance irreversible.”
While we’d love to hear about an automotive blood pact or — better still — a strategy to clone Ghosn for the next hundred years, the final plan will probably be a little more mundane. But, according to the chairman’s Friday announcement, it will not include a merger — at least not until the French government gets out of the way.
The battle between Nissan and the French government over the former’s voting stake in the Renault-Nissan Alliance continues on.
This month, after temporarily raising its stake to 19.7 percent, the French government cut back its stake to around 15 percent, which is still enough voting power under the Florange Law to block anything it didn’t like from Nissan and its allies during shareholder meetings.
However, second-in-command at Nissan, Chief Competitive Officer Hiroto Saikawa, expressed it wasn’t enough to go back to “the situation of seven months ago,” desiring “a better balance between the two companies,” a source told Reuters.
Instead, Nissan responded to the draw-down with a proposal establishing a “better-balanced” 25-percent/35-percent crossed shareholding, with Nissan finally having a say after 16 years of merely owning a piece of the company which rescued it from death back in 1999.