Nissan considers dropping out of Renault partnership

According to an agency report, the Japanese carmaker Nissan is pushing ahead with its growth plans in areas such as software and electric vehicles independently of alliance partner Renault. The two companies had recently officially agreed on closer cooperation.

At the beginning of February 2023, the manufacturer alliance of Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi announced a realignment of the existing partnership. Some joint eMobility activities are planned in Latin America, India and Europe, probably also with a joint 800-volt platform. Renault Group will significantly reduce its stake in Nissan from currently around 43 per cent to 15 per cent. The cross-shareholding would thus be 15 per cent each, and there is also a standstill obligation.

But while the detailed terms of this alliance (which is much more limited than the previous cooperation) are being finalised, a total of seven people with knowledge of the matter told the Reuters news agency that Nissan is already making new plans and putting out feelers for new partners.

Nissan is said to be looking for a partner outside the car industry to develop new software for its vehicles and cloud-based services. According to one of the Reuters sources, Nissan is looking to address a weakness as it tries to make cars “smarter and more connected”. The software was also one of the points we criticised in our test of the current electric flagship Ariya.

According to the report, Nissan also wants to become more independent from Renault with electric drive systems. The announced 15 per cent stake in Renault’s electric car division Ampere is to be maintained. However, according to two of the informants, Nissan has no plans to “provide technical support to Ampere”. Nissan’s ‘e-Power’ hybrid technology (a serial hybrid) is also not to be made available to the joint venture of Renault, Geely and Aramco.

The background to Nissan’s desire for independence is apparently the company’s opinion that the alliance is exhausted, although they still see advantages in joint parts procurement. Nissan management is increasingly of the opinion that “Renault is not bearing its fair share of the costs for innovation and development”. “Even if Renault gets something from Nissan, benefits moving in the other direction are hard,” said one of the informants. “The restrictions from Renault are gone, and we can move freely.”

In a joint statement to Reuters, the two carmakers indicated that they were continuing to work towards the “final partnership terms” that would make both companies more competitive – but what exactly that would mean was left open. According to the news agency’s information, Nissan could unveil a plan later this year that would be shaped by the new “go-it-alone” thinking.


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