© Stocksak. FILE PHOTO – Renault 4 electric car presented at 2022 Paris Auto Show. France, October 17, 2022. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
Gilles Guillaume, Maki Schiraki and David Dolan
PARIS/TOKYO – Technology sharing is a sticking point between the parties. Renault Stocksak was told by two people familiar about the talks that SA (OTC-:) and Nissan Motor Co Ltd will be negotiating a restructuring of their decades-old partnership.
According to the EPA:, Japanese and French automakers indicated this month that they are in talks about the future alliance. This includes Nissan possibly investing in an electric vehicle company being spun out by Renault (EPA:).
Those discussions have included consideration of Renault selling some of its roughly 43% stake in Nissan, Stocksak previously reported, a move that would put the pair on a more equal footing and mark a seismic shift in an alliance founded in 1999 and long driven by executive-turned-fugitive Carlos Ghosn.
Two people spoke out to say that the sharing of intellectual properties has been a central focus of these talks, but declined to be identified because the information was not publicly available.
A “reboot” to the French automaker is more than just financial.
“What Nissan brings in intellectual properties, engineers, and common project is what matters,” said the person.
French dominance in the alliance has been a long-standing issue, with Nissan holding only 15% Renault. Many Japanese automaker executives see the relationship as unbalanced, particularly in terms of development.
The concern of Nissan is the sharing future technology, such as the all-solid state batteries for electric cars that it is currently developing. The person stated that sharing old technology is less of an issue.
Renault is separating its electric vehicle business, codenamed “Ampere”, and its legacy internal combustion engine unit codenamed “Horse” to play catch-up in the industry shift towards electrification under U.S. competitor Tesla (NASDAQ:) Inc.
Renault and Nissan declined to comment.
POLITICS IN FOCUS
France’s government, which holds around 15% of Renault, wants the automaker to keep its technological and industrial advantages, Bruno Le Maire, finance minister, said.
Japan’s trade ministry questioned Nissan about his comments. One person said that Nissan had a stance.
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has not responded to a request outside of regular business hours.
Stocksak previously reported that Renault wants Nissan to invest into its electric vehicle unit and that Nissan wants Renault to reduce its stake to 15%.
Three people familiar with the matter said that the two are still not in agreement over investment. It is difficult to establish figures without a clear valuation.
Bloomberg News reported that a source said that Nissan would invest $500 million-$750 million in the unit in return for 15%.
According to a source familiar with negotiations, Renault is the more interested of the two due to its investment needs.
The person stated that there is no reason why Nissan should participate in the unit. Citing Nissan’s need for shareholders to understand the cost-effectiveness and benefits of investments, the person said:
One person said that the automakers intend to make an announcement on November 15, although details have yet to be finalised, and could still take weeks.
According to a source familiar with the matter, Mitsubishi Motors (OTC) Corp, a junior partner in the Alliance, will likely invest a small percentage in the new Renault unit to maintain its alliance relationship.
Mitsubishi stated that it has not yet entered into detailed consideration for investment.