In a joint statement, Renault and Nissan announced a major overhaul of their decades-old alliance. It is the first major change since the French marque saved the Japanese automaker from bankruptcy in 1999.
The two companies have agreed on a basic framework to rebalance their relationship, which involves Renault reducing its controlling stake in Nissan from 43 to 15 percent and Nissan taking part in a new electric vehicle spin-off from Renault. The objective of the revamp is to “strengthen the Alliance’s bonds and maximize value creation for all stakeholders.”
Renault will transfer its 28.4 percent stake to the French trust, where voting rights will be neutral for most decisions. Renault will retain rights to dividends and proceeds from the sale of shares, preserving the value of its holdings. The trustee will sell shares if it makes commercial sense for Renault, but no time frame has been set.
Nissan will invest in Ampere, Renault’s EV and software business spin-offs. The amount or value of the shares has not been disclosed, but Nissan is reportedly ready to invest up to 15 percent. Qualcomm is also expected to take a stake in the venture. The EV spin-off will focus on developing and selling fully electric vehicles that meet strict European emissions regulations. Nissan and partner Mitsubishi Motors will have access to the technology for use in their European line.
The companies also plan to strengthen their international cooperation with new operational projects in Latin America, India and Europe. The projects will address market penetration, vehicles and technology. The new arrangement will make cross-ownership between Renault and Nissan more equal, ending a longstanding source of tension and frustration within Nissan.
The massive overhaul marked the start of a new era, which some are calling the “2.0 Alliance.” The aforementioned deals are subject to their board’s approval and a formal announcement is expected as early as February 6th.