This week observers have been looking intently at the question of whether the FCA-Renault merger proposed by the former would be accepted by the latter potential partner. But one intriguing variable in the discussions has been the potential role of current Renault alliance partner, Nissan.
We’ve learned via a report in Automotive News that the Japanese automaker was apprised of the discussions between the automotive giants only days before Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ offer was made official and public on Monday. Nissan executives are taken by surprised by news of the advanced-stage negotiations, and the fact the company was not involved in them says much about the strained relations between it and alliance partner Renault since the arrest of Carlos Ghosn.
Still, an internal source at Nissan told Japanese media outlet Nikkei that the automaker is not opposed to an eventual FCA-Renault merger. However, according to that same official, "many details need to be worked out" before the company can give its official blessing to the deal. In reality, of course, nothing would prevent the merger from going ahead whether Nissan approves of it or not.
Renault’s openness to FCA’s overtures is due at least in part to the failure of merger talks between the French automaker and Nissan. The former currently owns a 43.4% stake in the latter
A done deal?
Renault confirmed Monday that it is presently studying FCA’s offer, but unofficially the merger may already have been approved, according to Automotive News. An announcement could come by next week.
As for Nissan and other Nissan-Renault Alliance partner Mitsubishi, they would not be part of the merger, but would be invited to partner with the new group on specific projects. Renault, Nissan, Mitsubishi and Dacia already share a number of components used in their respective vehicles, including engines, transmissions and whole platforms, and they share production capacity in some factories as well.
More news is sure to come in the next few days and weeks, so stay tuned.