Japan, France ministers affirm support for Nissan-Renault alliance

03, Sep. 2019

20190903_0002.jpg

TOKYO, Kyodo - The Japanese and French economy ministers agreed Monday to support the alliance between Nissan Motor Co. and Renault SA in its bid to enhance competitiveness in the auto industry rapidly shifting to electrified and self-driving vehicles, the Japanese ministry said.

The telephone talks between Hiroshige Seko and his French counterpart Bruno Le Maire came as the major auto alliance partners are reviewing their capital relationship after the arrest of former Nissan and Renault Chairman Carlos Ghosn last November for alleged financial misconduct.

In their joint press release, the two ministers said they will support the two companies' discussion and their unified will to maintain and strengthen their cooperative relationship.

The French government is the largest shareholder in Renault, which has a 43.4 percent stake in the Japanese automaker. Nissan holds a 15 percent non-voting stake in the French peer, a capital structure viewed by Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa as unbalanced.

A memorandum of cooperation signed by the two governments said they “decided to establish a policy dialogue aimed at sharing information, supporting significant transformations of the environment of the automotive industry.”

They will share information regarding autonomous vehicles and automotive batteries and exchange views toward expanding the use of electric vehicles and hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles.

The telephone talks followed up on the previous meeting between Seko and Le Maire on June 10 in Japan, where they confirmed their support for the Nissan-Renault alliance. (Kyodo)