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Nissan mulling split from Renault

By Elena Berton

The Japanese car maker has stepped up contingency planning for a possible split following Carlos Ghosn’s escape from Japan

Nissan has stepped up contingency planning for a possible split from Renault, according to the Financial Times and Bloomberg , which cited people familiar with the matter.

The plans include Nissan going it alone in engineering and manufacturing, as well as changes to Nissan's board.

The Financial Times reported that former CEO Carlos Ghosn’s escape from Japan had convinced Nissan executives to accelerate secret contingency plans to potentially split from Renault.

Bloomberg said Nissan had begun reviewing the alliance, particularly the engineering and technology-sharing part, before Ghosn’s escape from Japan last month. Plans were preliminary, so no decision has been made yet, according to Bloomberg’s source.

It’s unclear how a split would work, since Renault is Nissan’s largest shareholder.

Nissan and Renault weren’t immediately available for a comment.

The board of the Renault-Nissan alliance is meeting on January 30, which could lead to announcements about joint projects.

Renault’s Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard is expected to announce several combined projects he has been working on along Nissan’s new CEO Makoto Uchida.

Ghosn led Renault’s rescue of Nissan in 1999 and held the alliance together as head of both companies. His surprise arrest in Japan in November 2018 brought infighting between the two companies into the open.

Since Ghosn’s downfall, the two car makers have struggled amid the industry push into electric vehicles and growing consolidation in the sector.

FURTHER READING: Carlos Ghosn says arrest was plot to oust him as head of Nissan

FURTHER READING: Chinese auto sector prepares for 2020 decline

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